by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 12/18/14

"I want to see my family!" Logan said. I hated to tell him that they had just left. The party was over. For seven hours last Saturday, nearly every family member who bears his last name was present. The Halls were decked in the usual way: Christmas ham, smoked turkey, homemade dressing and desserts. Logan's uncles and cousins and his very own "Big Mama" prayed for the family for which they were thankful. Presents were opened and thank-you’s proffered in return.
So I wasn't surprised that Logan still wanted to see his family. But he kept pointing up. He was pointing to the wall where we have begun to collect Christmas cards. There, one by one, Logan picked up the Christmas cards and declared that this is his family. Yes, the first few were from the family tree, but many more were from our family of faith. They too were declared family, though not by a toddler’s proclamation, but by the Christ child’s birth.
Some of you may be tired of my benediction, but for others it is just sinking in. If we are indeed sons and daughters of God, then we are, in fact, brothers and sisters in Christ—a part of the family tree. Looking back at the beginning of the Gospels, we find the genealogy of Jesus. The first chapter of Matthew begins with Jesus's family history, a part that we usually just skip over. Spiritually speaking, if you began with the first verse of Matthew, you could trace the tree of our family of faith from your name all the way back. Do you want to see your family? Look around. Look around beyond the beautiful cards that mark your mantel or refrigerator door. Look around in the pews that surround you, and look beyond them to the people in our city and world who have their own places in the family of God.
Join us on Christmas Eve, as Christians around the world gather to await the Christ child's birth. Come with your family. Invite a neighbor or friend. Be here when we light our candles and raise them high into the night, singing praises to God the Father and Christ, his only begotten son. Be here as the Holy Spirit of God moves like wind through the branches of our own family Christmas tree.