[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his Thanksgiving, I was reminded why God gave us family.  Instead of living life in isolation, he surrounded us with people - with community.  Individuals are united in bonds of familia. God gave us family to share life together.

Sharing life doesn't just happen on holidays.  Sharing life is living and breathing, knowing and loving each and every day; not just on the one day out of the year where thanks is a declaration.  Families are meant to practice thanksgiving every day to pay respect to our Father that created us in the beginning.

What if God had just left Adam alone? Do you think he would have lived harmoniously with his creator or also be tempted by the slimy snake?  I know Eve gets the blame for the Fall, but at least she had Adam to share the tumbling out of euphoria with.  Adam and Eve messed up - big time - but they didn't have to suffer alone.  Because of their mess up, none of us have perfect families.  We fight, gossip, betray, and whine.  We kiss, hug, make-up, and forgive.  Families love.  Not because we want to, but because loving is part of our design.  Adam's God loved him and Eve despite their big mistake.  That same God loves you and loves me.  So much that he gave his beloved Son to die on the cross for us.

Could you love that big?  Could you be like Abraham and sacrifice your son, Isaac, the one that God has promised to carry on your family lineage?  God wants our obedience, just like he wanted Abraham's all those years ago.  Families are designed with an obedience factor -child obeys father and father obeys his father.  Loving big requires trust and obedience to our God.

With this obedience comes a great reward.  Did you know that Isaac means laughter?  Sarah laughed when she first was told she would bear a child in her old age and Isaac brought her much laughter from the day he was born until the day she passed.  Overflowing laughter is one of the many joys of living in community with family.  Full, robust laughter that shakes the walls and fills the souls.

Families unite individuals.  Covenants are made and lives are woven together.  Being a family requires commitment, honesty, discipline, and sacrifice.  When family members break their covenants, evil so often replaces love.  Generations upon generations are left with broken hearts, fear, and sadness.  An action that forms into a horrible habit can dramatically altar the lives of family members.  Children suffer from mistakes made by relatives and grow up living behind a mask instead of admitting pain. These mask-bearers would rather not be united with their family.

Thank God that Jesus is the hope for all.

The blood of Jesus washes away sin and makes all things new.  Jesus is merciful.  Jesus loves the unlovable and heals the brokenhearted.  He is our co-heir and unites all of us as brothers and sisters in him.  Jesus provides a shelter to the orphans of our world and a home to the homeless.  Jesus loves exorbitantly.  He shares the Holy Spirit with all that love him back so we can all be united into family.  We - Christians - are a community of believers.  We laugh together.  We break bread together.  We fill our bellies with good things.  Jesus is our Thanksgiving.

Life-sharers have an open door policy just like the father who welcomed his lost son back  after all of his wrongdoings.  Embracing the family you were born into might be difficult but could this act of kindness heal and restore?  Might love really conquer all?

God gave us family to share life together.  Life-sharing, community-living, love-choosing: these are the reasons we gather and grow together.  Believe in these things.  Be thankful today that God loves you so much that He wanted to share life.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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