Our family vacation this week at Kent's was missing the Graingers, unable to trek home all across America. So we'll save our usual video for Christmas when once again we gather the whole family.
I love that word. Family. Mi familia. Familiar comes from the same word. Familiar faces, familiar jokes, familiar stories, familiar vacation spots. Like worn bedroom shoes, family is comfortable, accepting, warm.
Recently I told a family story to Katy. "Really, Mom? I never heard that before!"
"Are you serious, Katy?"
"No. I'm being totally sarcastic. I've heard it a million times!" We both laughed. It's a mother thing to repeat herself. It's a family thing to tease.
As I pondered family this week together, my mind grouped them into 3 family units.
Immediate family includes your household at any given time. I grew up in a family of four.
Then Ricky made it five.
Five people in our family.
Remember this ditty, Sesame Street fans?
Then I married Doug and we were two. Then baby made three. Then baby made four. Finally Katy took us back to five people in my family again.
Now we're back to two. Immediate family waxes and wanes. We love the empty nest but don't tell the kids! They think we miss them. (Yes, I'm repeating my story here, kids. Laugh anyway! Or go to your room.)
Extended family just moves one direction. Ever growing. In-laws, babies, grandchildren expand it. Reunions unite it. Brian Tippett was the firstborn son of a firstborn son (Bert) of a firstborn son (Elbert Tippett, my daddy.) Brian presented his firstborn son to my mother with proud Papa pomp, "Grandma! Here's Mitchell. Now you're a great grandmother."
"I always was!" she winked back and reached for the baby.
Later she met another great grandson, J.D., with the same wit and love. She's right. She always was a great grandmother!
Forever family is a new term and includes all the saints of all the ages both on earth and in heaven. Man! It would take forever to get to know them. And that's exactly what we have.
"I go to prepare a place for you. . ."
One day in that heavenly home I want to play keyboard with Jubal and and jam with David. I hope to share antics with another big mouth, Peter! I want to spend time with Pop Willey and remember the beauty of Cuba and the Caribbean. Fanny Crosby might give me pointers in hymn writing, a dream I'd love to achieve one day. What fun to spend some Walden Pond time with Max Lucado and get a writing lesson or two.
Maybe strolling a gold street I'll bump into a long-legged, green-eyed Tippett from many generations back and recognize my own face and legs, hearing, "Kathy! I'm your great-great-great-great grandfather!"
He always was. Forever is just long enough for our reunion!
Are you part of my forever family? You can be. Jesus said, "I am the Way." He's the only way and He died to prove His love for you. You are chosen and loved.
Like Jacob (Gen. 49:33) was "gathered to his people" one day we too will be because we chose to be in Christ Jesus' forever family.