Summer is upon us and with it, an increase in summer travel. I was on the road this weekend to attend a family reunion which is held each year on the first weekend in June. I got to hug lots of necks and shake lots of hands. Our gathering was nice, the food was good, and, as usual, the best part was the chance to visit with those we haven't seen in a while. There are several such celebrations which connect me with other branches of the family tree, and I enjoy each one and go every year if scheduling allows.
In the time I spent driving to the event I tried to imagine which family members would be there. I also thought about some of the stories I hear every year and wonder if they will be retold with the annual enhancements added. I told some of the kids how much they had grown. Mostly, I talked to the older folks (those like me) and as I looked around I saw good representation for future folks to keep the family gatherings and traditions alive.
My trip home was also filled with reflection on this family I love dearly, and the wonderful experience I had in talking to most of them. Yes, I had to be told who some of them were, and I noticed some of them trying to remember who I am. All this makes for a typical family reunion, and next year I am sure I will have to be reminded of which kids go with which adults, and who is going to clean the kitchen after lunch.
I like family! It's a concept designed by God in the Garden of Eden and if you are familiar with Old Testament stories, you know how important it has always been to God who cares for and provides for his spiritual family. The key element for God's family, as well as our earthly families, is love. I saw that today as we sang Happy Birthday to an 89 year-old aunt. I saw it as all the kids were asked to take a wing at the piñata. I saw and heard it as stories were exchanged during lunch.
I have the chance to attend three family reunions this summer and I am going to make the ones I can, and be disappointed if I have to miss one. Yes, I am kin to that many people. And the same is true no matter which reunion I am attending, I still see the love and fellowship which God intended in his design for families.
All this makes me encourage you to maintain close ties to your earthly family. Consider it a part of God's design and planning. There are good reasons for families to get together. I am proud to come from a good stock of people who recognize this truth and I am always amazed at the amount of love and respect that comes from all of us being together.
Something dawned on me as I drove home today, thinking reunion thoughts. The reason these people place so much emphasis on family is because they are also blessed to be a part of the family of God. None of us are pictures of perfection. In fact, we have some scoundrels, like every family. But this time of year, we like to get together and celebrate our heritage, remember those who await us in heaven, and help each other achieve God's plan for each of our lives.
Be thankful to God today for family. He has made a good plan which is the best plan for us. Love to all.