“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
Many of my holidays have been spent at the pond of my great aunt with my extended family. We would all come with our folding chairs, fishing poles, and potluck dishes. The smell of pork chops cooking on the grill would waft through the air. There were the happy sounds of children jumping off the dock and making big splashes in the water. We could almost measure the passing years by the changing heights of the children.
We’d see family and friends that we hadn’t seen since the last get together or longer. We would sit for hours talking and catching up on each others’ lives. There were always lots of smiles and big belly laughs. People would share their pictures and interesting news about our loved ones. The feelings of love and belonging would warm us like the summer sun.
We’d snack on dessert while we waited. If we didn’t get it early, it would be gone. And when it was time for the meal, we would all gather in a large circle under the shelter house and hold hands. We’d count off and then we’d say grace before everyone took their place in the line.
Whenever we reflect on the lives of those who have passed away, we talk about the big pond in the sky, where the family members of the past will eagerly greet the new arrivals. We have fond memories of our times together and long for more in the future. The location doesn’t matter as much as the family traditions, but the consistent gatherings were treasured by us all.
Thank you for our extended family and the opportunity to get to know those who share our history. There is great comfort and renewal when catching up with those who truly love us and care what is going on in our lives. Please help us to continue to gather when we are able and to reflect on these experiences when we feel burdened or alone. Please help us to encourage one another.
In Christ’s name, Amen.
Journal: Take a few minutes to remember your family’s special times together. How can you make more time for them? Is there someone you can contact to share a memory or encouragement?