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All In the Family

Ashley Allen Five GenerationsI love my family.

In a day and age when families are not as valued as they have been in previous years and people try to provide excuses (I mean reasons) to avoid their families, there is not a group of people with whom I would rather spend time.

I enjoy doing things with my family (no matter how mundane); cooking and sharing meals; and simply just spending time with them – collectively and individually. My mom and I sound alike, my dad and I look alike, and my brothers and I act alike. I enjoy lunches with my grandmothers and peppering them with questions about their childhoods and years as young adults.

I love my family.

Don’t get me wrong. There are oddballs. Quite frankly to some in my family, I’m probably an oddball. But, that’s okay. We are all nuts that have been shaken from the same branchy tree.

One of the things that I love is reuniting with all the members of my family. Not just those in my immediate family or my grandmothers and aunts and uncle, but the whole gang of people that include great-aunts, fourth cousins, and maybe even some others twice removed.

Most families have family reunions in the summertime, but not my family. Two weeks before Christmas our very large family gathers. As a kid I remember every other year riding in the backseat of my parents’ car for the seemingly never-ending trip to Oklahoma to my grandmother’s sister’s house in the tiny town where they were raised on a farm with their siblings. During the years in between those spent in the car, my parents, brothers and I would drive the short distance to my grandmother’s house to get things ready so everyone could gather. During these family gatherings I learned not only how to figure out that my grandmother’s sister’s daughter’s daughter is my third cousin, but I also learned some really neat stories about my family history and how to value each person within the family tree.

My grandmother is the unofficial “keeper of the lists.” Every year she would put typing paper in her old typewriter and re-type the list of all of her siblings and their families. She would make any updates and full birthdates were always listed. We have since digitized this list and it also includes pictures from many different decades.

While this takes place within my dad’s family, it also takes place within my mom’s. They all live much closer to each other, so a long trip to another state doesn’t take place, but mom and her sisters have sat around the table sharing moments of growing up together and family memories galore.

I am thankful that on both sides of my family there is an undeniable thread of God’s great grace and faithfulness.

The importance of family in Scripture cannot be overstated. Continually the Lord provides genealogies, or family trees, throughout the text of His Word. When the flood waters subsided, exit of the Ark happened by family (Genesis 8:19, NASB). I can’t help but wonder if Jesse ever said to David, “Let me tell you the story of your great-grandmother, Ruth, and your great-great-grandmother, Rahab” and then shared stories not only of laughter and funny moments, but of God’s faithfulness and provision.

What greater legacies can one generation give to the next than to hand down the things of the Lord Jesus, the ultimate Story of His great love and sacrifice, and stories of His faithfulness?

I challenge you in the last six months remaining in 2014: gather your family together for a reunion. Include the immediate family, the extended family, the in-laws, out-laws and the black sheep. Within our families there are great opportunities to share the Gospel and the stories of His constant faithfulness and grace.

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