Happy New Year! And Welcome to Family Life Month!

The busy holiday season is over. A new year (and a new decade!) has begun. One of my favorite traditions is sitting with Kirk on December 31 and reviewing our year. So much happens in a year. So many memories, events, travels, relationships, challenges, and joys. It’s meaningful for us to recap the highlights and give thanks. We turn the calendar on the challenging things and also celebrate the joys… remembering that God is in both.

For many of us, the holidays are full of time spent with family. For some, this is wonderfully welcomed, while for others, this is incredibly stressful. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” On a strictly biological level, this is true, but in so many other ways, this is not the only story to be told.

In reality, the stories of family are many and varied. Because while it’s true that we can’t change the names of those who literally conceived and gave birth to us, it’s also true that some of us were raised in a family that we weren’t biologically related to. Others have learned some things about our families through the DNA craze of the past few years (Ancestry.com, 23andme, etc.) that have rocked our worlds, shedding light on things previously hidden. Still others live far away from relatives, seeing them infrequently (if at all) in a given calendar year; so friends who live close by have become, for all practical purposes, family. And many have adopted or been adopted, married or seen marriages end, welcomed new life or said good-bye to a family member in death, become estranged from or mended relationships with someone called “family”… because it can be complicated, right?

I’ve started a new Bible reading/devotional plan for this year, and I’m looking forward to reading familiar words and stories with a fresh perspective. On this New Year’s morning, my reading included Matthew 1, which begins by telling us about the human family that Jesus was born into (not all of them spiritual rock stars or morally upright citizens, I might add).

And I was reminded that even as Jesus was born into a family, later in life He turned upside down the definition of family by asking “’Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” Matthew 12:48-50

Friends, know that above all, you are a part of God’s family. And you are a part of the Family of Grace at Faith Covenant Church. We look forward to unpacking what that means and looks like in the month to come. We sure hope you plan to join us on Sundays and on Wednesdays this January as we look more closely at the term FAMILY LIFE.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Char