E-pistle December 18

The Gift of Family
Those of you who read my Facebook postings know that my current status is “Looking forward to a house full of family! The invasion begins Tuesday.” We can hardly wait. It will be a very welcome invasion. This will be the first time all seven of us – three children, two children-in-law, and Becky and me – will be all together under our Langhorne roof.  We can hardly wait (or did I already tell you that?).
We don’t have all that much planned.  Worship together on Christmas Eve.  Stockings and presents on Christmas morning.  Sometime in the midst of it all we hope to get in our annual “Jingle Bell Run.”  Maybe you’ll hear us coming.  And lots of food (everyone likes to cook), games and conversation. As far as invasions go, this is as good as it gets.  We can hardly wait (or maybe you knew that).
But it is an invasion that begins on Tuesday.  No doubt about it, it’s an invasion.  Our empty nest, so comfortable for the two of us, will feel a bit more crowded with seven of us.  And among the seven of us are morning people and evening people, introverts and extroverts, neat freaks and, well, shall we say, the more free-flowing types.  Each one of us has buttons that can be pushed, and a few of them probably will.  Still, we can hardly wait (or you may have figured that out on your own). 
As far as families go, we do pretty well together.  That’s not always the case with every family and maybe it won’t always be the case with us.  We pray it will be. 
One of the joys of our family gatherings is the reality that all seven of us has come to trust Jesus, the Baby born in Bethlehem, to be the savior of the whole world and the one who has redeemed each of our lives. And so as we gather, we can remind each other of what it means not just to be a family by birth and marriage, but to be a family bound together by our common faith. We know that we’ve been adopted into another family, God’s family. 
So even though we can hardly wait for the invasion that begins on Tuesday, (or had you already guessed that?), it wouldn’t hurt for us to remember what life in the family of God is to be:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

For Becky and me, the invasion begins on Tuesday.  I may have told you that we can hardly wait.  Some of you will be invaders this week and others, like Becky and me, invadees.  Whichever it is, I hope you’re looking forward to it.  We are.  Whether you are a “do pretty well together” family or a “sometimes not so well together” family, as you invade or are invaded this week, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Oh, did I tell you that we can hardly wait to see our kids?
And see you on Sunday.