Family Reunion

Aunt Erma’s red velvet cake…my cousin Doug playing his guitar singing “The Day the Music Died”…card tables playing host to all kinds of games and those around them exploding periodically with laughter.  Yes, it’s family reunion! I always looked forward to my Grandma Bailiff’s old photo albums and stories about my mom and her siblings were sure to bring on extra narrative from any aunts and uncles within earshot.  Every addition brought the hilarity to a new crescendo, as one story tumbled into another. Memories are like that. Memories are to be cherished and shared. Traditions can’t be traditions unless they are passed on.  

In pioneer days, extended families stuck together, worked and worshipped together.  They helped one another through sickness, failed crops, and lost loved ones. The thread that held them together through thick and thin was their love for the Lord and each other.  In fact, this love branched out and drew other folks passing through and communities began to spring up all over this nation. “By this shall all men know that yea are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).

Many extended families no longer get together for what we affectionately call family reunions, citing such excuses as not enough time, not enough funds, no transportation, or worse—no interest.  

My father was killed in an automobile accident when I was about twelve.  Since then, family reunions have been few and far between, and never the same on either side of the family.   When I was a child, I would run to embrace one of my cousins, Lisa, Twyla, or Darla as if they were long lost friends.  And they were; I loved them dearly. It is sad, but due to circumstances, we barely know one another today, and I feel a profound sense of loss.

Our families have been given to us as a gift from God, to make memories with—to love—to enjoy.  But, as with many gifts that have been given by God, we never open this package. We fail to benefit from our family ties as God intended.

We were at the home of a close friend recently, where I met one of his aunts from Virginia.  I was encouraged as she told us about a big family reunion she’d just been to in Corsicana, Texas.  She commented on how much fun it had been and then made this statement that is really at the heart of this chapter.  She said, “It was great seeing family we hadn’t seen in years and meeting family we’d never met before.” I thought immediately of the grandest family reunion ever planned, where the highlight won’t be Aunt Joyce’s potato salad.  Instead, all eyes will be on the One who gave His life for us. Like our earthly reunions, there will again be great food (the Marriage Supper of the Lamb), great company, laughter, and singing. But, unlike before, this reunion will be perfected by our Father who has made it possible for us to see family we haven’t seen in years and meet family we’ve never met before.  “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Hallelujah! Now that’s what I call a reunion!


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