This past weekend Monieca and I were in KY to visit family and celebrate Christmas. Saturday afternoon we gathered with her brother and several relatives at the nursing home where her parents now live. There was food, gifts, photographs, laughter, hugs, conversations, and kids playing. Her mom and dad sat side by side in their wheelchairs holding hands.
Saturday evening we gathered with my family at my sister’s house to eat chili and watch UK basketball. Since there were more kids and an entertaining game between UK and UNC, this gathering was much louder than the one earlier in the day.
We drove through some snow flurries on our way back to SC on Sunday, leaving behind in KY our siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and parents. We arrived in Rock Hill to much warmer weather and another family. No, I’m not talking about our children and grandchildren. I’m talking about our church family.
In Matthew 12 Jesus interrupted while speaking to a crowd inside a house. His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to talk to Him. Jesus responded in a very unexpected way. As He looked around the room, He pointed to His disciples and said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
All of us understand that at followers of Christ, we are spiritual brothers and sisters. Yet we often fail to grasp the depth of affection that is to exist among us.
Most of us feel a strong bond with our family, especially when we gather with them at times like Christmas. In a very similar way Jesus wants us to feel a strong bond with our spiritual family. Some will argue that family is blood – and they would be right. But our spiritual family is created by blood as well – the blood of Jesus poured out at Calvary.
This Christmas as you gather with your loved ones, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on the effort you’re making to deepen your love for and connection with your church family. What can you do to show more love to your spiritual brothers and sisters? What can you do to show up more consistently when your church family gathers? How can you better support your First Baptist Church Family of Faith?
Pastor Steve Hogg