We crave family this time of year. Many drive long distances to be with them. Turkey dinners are carefully laid out for relatives. Even broken families wish for better times and may attempt reconciliation. Loneliness can be profound when one has little family left. Some people have so much family to visit, they become exhausted.
Scripture applauds good families. In Joseph and Mary’s family we see a glimpse of togetherness during a special time. Luke 2:41-52 tells us how their extended family traveled together to Jerusalem for Passover. This would have been a happy time for each of them. When the 12-year old Jesus went missing, they assumed he was somewhere nearby with relatives. We can safely let down our guard around family.
God designed healthy families to be a tremendous blessing. Scripture gives us many supporting roles for relatives. Husbands and wives sacrifice for each other (Eph.5:22-33); children play their part (Eph.6:1-4); widows need to be helped (1 Tim.5). The Old Testament even included special family instructions for the care of impoverished relatives (Deut.25:25).
During the holidays we take an interest in each brother, sister, cousin, and parent. Everybody likes and needs a bit of attention. This gives each person a sense of worth, that they belong and have something worthwhile to contribute. Good emotional health results.
Whether you look forward to holiday family time or just find it stressful, make an effort to show appreciation to your family. They need it, and you need it. It’s a hard life, but family can make it easier. Families count.
– Tim Johnson