November 21, 2018
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"1 (Lyrics)

At this holiday time of the year, the word "family" often seems to come up. Thanksgiving is observed in Canada in October and in the United States in November. Next month there will again be times of holiday celebrations, especially at Christmas. There is generally a strong desire to be together at these special times as a family. The sentiment was made famous by Bing Crosby, who sang, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams."

My aim in writing this devotional is to help us all to think a little more about including others in our family celebrations, because the single most important factor in a successful family relationship is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:4a, Paul begins his description of love by writing, "Love is patient, love is kind" (NIV). Indeed, the entire chapter gives useful suggestions on how love can make the family succeed.

About twenty years ago, a mother, father, and five young children arrived at our church for the first time. After service, we invited them to come with us for our noon meal. At the table, the mother asked what her children should call us. I suggested "Grandma and Grandpa" like some others did. That week, she e-mailed me to say that that was the kindest gift that I could have given her children.

What I didn't know was that while the maternal grandparents were alive and loving, living in Vancouver, Canada, the paternal grandparents were dead. On a mission trip to Guatemala, the mother had met a bright young teacher from there, married, and had these five young children. However, her husband's mother had died giving birth to her son, and his father had died shortly thereafter, so these five young children grew up without paternal grandparents, until we, unknowingly, became the Guatemalan grandparents.

Some years later, the teenage daughter became friends with one of my son's daughters. After church one Sunday, I heard her call "Grandpa, Grandpa!" and she ran over for a morning hug. Her friend sidled up and said, "But he's my real Grandpa." My son's daughter was willing to share her Grandpa's love, but she wanted to keep the facts straight!

The ultimate successful family is the family of God, as expressed so beautifully in the song by Bill and Gloria Gaither:

    I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!
    I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.
    Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
    For I'm part of the family, the family of God.

We all have opportunities to expand our family relationships. At this holiday time, may we all strive in love to make the connections more meaningful.

Prayer: God, help us to see opportunities to serve You by sharing Your love with others. May we invite our immediate family members to be closer, and extend that loving relationship to others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Vincent.

    Perfectly said, Vince. Thank you.

    Thank you, Vincent. A good reminder.

    Amen, Vincent. Family is important! Blessings.

    Beautiful story, Vincent. Blessings to you and your family!

    Good morning, Vincent,
    These devotionals you write are such a blessing. Thank you so much.

    Thank you, Vincent!
    I enjoyed your sharing.
    Keep up the good faith.

    Dear Vincent Walter,
    Heartfelt! Thank you. Such sentiments emanate from the Lord’s Spirit within us.
    Keep writing.

    Hi brother Vince,
    Thank you for writing and sharing God’s love, and wisdom with us once again. God bless you!

    What a powerful devotional and an inspiration to others at this time which can be so lonely for some. Thank you.

    I knew this would be from you as I was reading it. You are so special and I enjoy your devotions.
    God bless.

    What a beautiful gesture, an example to each of us, that had positive and Godly influence for years. Amen.

    Hello Vince,
    Thanks for another special devotional. Close relationships in family are a priority and being part of the “family of God” is extra special.

    Hi Vince,
    Thank you for today’s devotional. It had extra impact because I had just preached on “Love is patient, love is kind” and this morning just lead a men’s Bible study on the same passage. Thank you for all the times the door of your home (and fridge!) were open to me when I was a teenager. You modelled a loving open door home life that we are seeking to live out now.
    Hope you have a love – filled Christmas this year.

    Good Morning Vincent,
    I really enjoyed your devotion on Thanksgiving. It reminded me of a Christmas many years ago. After my late wife and I delivered Meals on Wheels we discussed who we might ask to join us for Christmas dinner with our young children. Her parents were at her brother’s, my widowed mom at my sisters. So we called this elderly couple in their run down house and they were delighted! Taking my eldest boy I fetched them and it was heart-warming how they seemed to enjoy being with us. Our youngsters were very pleasant with our guests.
    Keep writing Devotions!

    Your devotional reminded me of a Christmas many years ago.
    A family violent event landed a mother in the hospital and a father in jail.
    Three preschoolers were “orphaned” for Christmas.
    We heard about them from our Presbyterian friend, so my husband went to pick them up.
    As they arrived I noticed scratching and immediately knew the dreaded lice came with them.
    What to do as our three preschoolers would be exposed as well as the home?
    Immediate urgent pray to God.
    Who knows when they were in the tub before this?
    We had enough clothes to share until theirs were washed and dried.
    Food, fun, gifts and laughter filled the rest of the day.
    Most important for me, we had no lice in our home.
    God protected us.
    Praise His Holy Name.

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