We’re literally on the eve of Christmas, with the clock just past twelve. My parents are probably sleeping by now at my brother’s place, in the room next to his newborn, Carter. (Ain’t he cute?) We’ve no snow here in San Diego and lots of the ordinary, but after we finally turned off the TV and let my mom’s home-cooked meals digest, and we started to laugh and swap stories, I felt one thing: we are family. (Sure, queue up Sister Sledge. I don’t mind.)
Earlier today, Jinhee and I were in a church that we dearly love and singing a Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night.” And when we were singing the third verse, I started to tear up and my cracking voice couldn’t keep up with the lyrics:
“Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love, and his gospel is peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his holy name;
Christ is the Lord, O, Praise his name forever.
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!”
And as I looked around at the worshippers at my church, I realized one thing: we are family.
I love my family, the one that bore me and trained me to live. They nurtured me and guided me, and loved me as best as they could. And with the birth of my nephew Carter, I’m feeling a blood-bond with him that has wrapped its cords around me. Add that my parents are down here in San Diego and I can eat my mother’s grand cooking and hear my father’s exuberant laugh, and you read the words of a person thankful for his family.
But we are also part of a larger family: when Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were looking for him, he said, “… whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” And today, we celebrate the beginnings of a new family. Through Jesus, I have brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers all over the world today. And my siblings and I are trying to do what Jesus was doing — loving each other and healing the planet. Because Jesus taught us to love one another, and his law is love and his gospel is peace. Slaves are our brothers and sisters, and in his name all oppression shall cease. He’s setting up a new Kingdom, a new community, a new family. And Jesus is calling us to be more like Dad. And to thank Dad. And that’s Christmas. And to all of those who consider themselves students of Jesus, here’s one thing I know: we are family.
Amen… and I’m glad you’re in my family :-)
ah… i had to post. partly because i’m in a different country and i really wanted to see a different little flag, but also because i resonate particularly with your this entry on family. It brings particular comfort to know and be a part of this bigger family when one’s nuclear family is less clear, less stable, and perhaps less than what God intended family to be. So praise God for adoption and a chance at funtionality and glimpses of the Kingdom through that greater family.
Because of that adoption, i think we have a particular responsibilty in caring for one another as family… caring for the greater family as you would care for your own nuclear unit. it should challenge our american view of the individual family and all the trappings that come with it, and grace us with the many blessings of becoming part of that crazy, crowded, messy group of people that God calls family.
oh…and i forgot to comment on that adorable little nephew of yours! i just want to pinch those cheeks! pass on the congratulations!
Thanks, Sarah! Are you writing from Germany?
no, i’m not… isn’t that wierd? i’m actually writing from mexico city, but that flag came up. go figure.
I thought you’d be in Mexico City. I think something’s wrong with the database. I’ll try and update it.
There we go! It’s showing the right flag now.