I am sitting in the livingroom of my son's parents-in-law just getting ready to come home after a few days of visiting for Christmas. They were wonderful hosts and made everyone feel welcome and blessed. But life goes on and holidays come to an end. Jobs call us back and the reality and needs of life require us to "get back at it".
But even though our scheduled lives get back to the routine, we still think about our relationships and how they are a blessing to us. The love that is shared among family is the way Jesus designed us to live, and it is good that we recognize that--I think it brings honor to Him.
I think we are able to live better, think better, contribute more, and have a generally healthier disposition when family 'works'. Our connection seems to bring to life aspects of who we are that come out stronger when we are together. Sure, it's not always easy, but I still think it's true.
This reminds me of what Jesus says in John 15:6 "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers.."
Often this verse is interpreted as harsh on Jesus' part--almost like a threat held over us--"do this or else you won't like the outcome.". But I wonder if His heart is little different here...
If you read the context surrounding this verse you find that Jesus is really focussing on relationship with Him that leads Him to eventually call the people who follow Him "friends" because He has entrusted His heart, thoughts and plans to those who are with Him.
Quite a statement if you think about it--we are called God's friends!
There are always rules of appropriate living when you are with family--but those are not things we live in perpetual angst over when you are with them for a time like Christmas. They are just things that are part of a normal time together. I think the same kind of attitude fits when we think of our relationship with Jesus--He says to live in Him and we are blessed when we do so. When we stumble in our sins, He is not waiting for the opportunity to separate Himself from us. In fact, He has done much that would show us the opposite: He died on the cross so we could be with Him!
This Christmas season remember that Jesus considers His followers as friends--and He is willing to go to great lengths to ensure this relationship with Him.
It's kind of hard to express how great it is to live with love around you--it certainly doesn't do justice simply to say it's 'good'.
But maybe it's not the words that really count because they only describe the reality. What really counts is that we have it in Jesus!
Thank you my Friend....
Brian M Tysdal
Rock of Ages Church