Family, Yes… Important

Have you ever considered your family?

CMG at Family Christmas 3 2010When I was growing up, a portion of my family would have a reunion and it seemed there were over 400 in attendance, yet our family Christmas (paternal or maternal) might include only 25-40 or so. Still, as we sat down at the dinner table each day with just 6 in attendance, I realized my family grouping was huge.

My immediate family was relatively small, and the expanded group could contain hundreds…maybe even thousands. As I age, my own connection to my bride expanded my family connections to include my in-laws and their expanded groupings. Bring some children in the world, and they marry, and suddenly my family grouping expands even again.

If we assume the bible to be accurate, then consider that this process has happened since the dawn of time – we all find our familial roots back to the very beginning of humanity. Whether it be Adam, or even Noah after the Ark, we find our roots historically in the past of the larger family of the earth.

This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. (Genesis 5:1-2 NKJV)

This could mean that every single person, around the world, across the country, and on every continent is related to us. Yet, I do not know them – their origins, culture or language. We are all as varied as the continent or region or language grouping whereby we were raised. Yet we are connected.

We often narrow our family group back to a point in time where we know someone by name or position. From that point, or person, forward, we can document our family like a slice of pie out of the whole. We do not see the connection around us, because we’ve narrowed our world. Considerably.

IMG_5213IMG_5179When travelling in Jordan a few years back, this young boy was visiting the same historical place of Petra just like my group. I wondered where he was from. His family. Language. Country. Culture. He may not be part of my immediate family, but we are both part of the larger family picture of this earth. Or, even this merchant headed off to his morning duties.

At some point, we narrow our focus just to those who are in our grouping. By society, culture, region, or by familial connection. We corral those loose ends that expand our family bounds, and draw them end to a small subset of the possibility. Even Jesus did this…

While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and 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 NKJV)

Those who fit our focus, we call them family. I have my church family. In the past it was my work family. Play a team sport and you call them your family. Become part of a grouping of people and they become part of your family.

Here’s the one thing I thought this morning. Which family grouping is the most important to me? My immediate family is my first focus. My wife. Kids. Parents. Siblings. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Nieces. Nephews… Well. That’s probably 500 people or so… If I include the paternal and maternal side. Does it mean I know them all? No. But it does mean I can track my genealogy with this immediate focus. Out far back do I go? I remember both sets of grandparents, and have a vague memory of my great grandparents.

My mom researches our genealogy and has gone back a goodly distance. It’s an exciting adventure to read my past! My family.