Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Importance of Family Gatherings

The Importance of Family Gatherings
The Importance of Family Gatherings

Today, my husband and I attended a funeral.  One of the things that stood out to me was the importance of family gatherings.  In many cases, once the family matriarch passes away, family gathering become more scarce.  That's so sad.

We are older now so I've had some time to reflect on the past.  Recently, I have thought about our grandparents and how proud they would be of their grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren on both sides of our family.

The Importance of Family Gatherings

I miss it.  All of it.  I always loved our extended family gatherings.  I can still hear all the voices, all the laughter, smell all the smells . . . all the things.  

We have attended several funerals lately.  The older we get, the more funerals we will attend.  That's how life and death works.  We are here for a little while, and then we are gone.

Those of us who know the Lord know we are not really gone.  As Billy Graham once said it, we will have only changed our address.

A little while back, I heard or read a phrase somewhere that stuck with me.

"The days are long but the years are short."

Few sentences have fallen so hard on my heart as this one, except for Bible verses, of course.  The truth in that sentence takes my breath away every time I think of it, and I think of it more and more often.

When we are young, working hard, raising families, and doing all the things young and growing families do, we get tired.  Sometimes, we get bone tired.  Can I get an amen?  When we are in the middle of all the younger days, sometimes it seems like that season of life will last forever.  We love our families, but we need a break, a time to breathe, but those breathing breaks are hard to come by.  Time measured in days seems so long.  Then, one day, here we are.  We wake up to a new day to realize just how many days and years have passed.  The kids are grown.  Maybe they are married with kids of their own or maybe they are single and thriving.  There are no more of the things that used to spend up our time, our long days.  We long for the school plays and programs, ball practices and games, piano recitals, band performances, and in our case, countless church events.  

If you are sitting where I sit today and all of those long days are in the past, then you realize, like me, just how short the years can be.  Now, we find ourselves in the beginning years of goodbyes as our older relatives slip away.

BUT, if you believe, like I do, that goodbye on this earth is only a "see you later" for those of us who know Jesus, then we can take comfort and know that the same God who created us and held us during all the long days of the past also holds our futures, our eternal futures.  

I am grateful for the Truth of the gospel.  In His saving grace, I rest not only in the comfort Jesus offers, but also in the joyful anticipation of eternal life with Him and the loved ones who have gone before us.  

Do you have this same comfort and assurance?  If not, then I hope you will take a few minutes to read this page and I pray that you will read it with a heart ready to receive the eternal life God offers us in His Son, Jesus.

In the meantime, in the space between where we sit now and the day we go home to Heaven, gather often, precious families.  I pray we will take the opportunity to love our families and love them big.  When my time on this earth is done, I hope my family will smile and laugh more than they grieve, knowing that my earthly death is not goodbye, but only a "see you later."  My challenge to them (and to you) is this:

Make sure you will be there in Heaven so that "see you later" is a firm truth to hold to and not just an "I hope so."

Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.  Where will you spend yours?

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