Being the family of God this Christmas

“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
           
Emotions run deep during the Christmas season. Joy and sadness. Wonder and anxiety. Love and loneliness. The individuals I have been in contact with over this Christmas season are experiencing “all the feels,” as the kids say. There are parents whose hearts are breaking over children who don’t want to see them. Husbands and wives wrestling with how to provide a joy-filled Christmas in the midst of marital separation and potential divorce. Widows and widowers dreading their first Christmas without their loved one. Single adults longing for family yet not feeling that they belong anywhere. For many people, Christmas season is hard.
           
In Matthew 12, Jesus was talking to a crowd when someone told him that his mother and brothers were outside and wanted to speak to him. Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And then, pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:46-50). With these revolutionary words, Jesus redefined family as more than blood relationship. The family of God includes all who trust in Jesus and belong to the Father.
           
As Jesus’ church, it is critical that we embody His view of family. We have opportunities, both on Sunday mornings and throughout the week, to communicate to others that we do not see them as simply fellow church members, but as part of our family. In Matthew 25:35, Jesus tells us that when we welcome a stranger, we are welcoming Him (not to mention when we feed, clothe, and visit others). On a Sunday morning, this means looking for people who are sitting by themselves, especially if they are new, and asking if you can sit with them. It means asking them to share their story with you, and helping them find their place in the church. And outside of Sunday, it could mean inviting them to share coffee or a meal with you, calling to check in on them when you don’t see them, or meeting a need that they have just as you would for your closest family members.
           
And during the Christmas season, embodying Jesus’ view of family means making a concerted effort to include people who may be dealing with loneliness or heartache. You may not be able to fix another person’s difficult life situation, but you can make sure that they do not face it alone. How would God have you reflect His view of family in our church this Christmas?

This blog post was inspired by Rebecca McLaughlin's article "How Gospel Community can Overcome Loneliness" at https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/how-gospel-community-can-overcome-loneliness/.
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Dawn - December 21st, 2023 at 4:20pm

Perfect time as Christians to make Christ be known to others through our generosity of extending love.

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