Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Giving Thanks for Family

Our family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. As the family grows, our adult children and their families have growing commitments and it is more difficult to get together. Sometimes we cannot all be together at the same time, but we did get to spend some time with all three of our sons and their wives and our grandchildren. Like most parents we are incredibly proud of our children and their families. It is always great to spend time with them. It is amazing how quickly the years seem to be passing.

Family is important to Bettie Jo and me. My wife’s parents have been more than my in-laws. Joe and Betty have been our close friends our entire married life. (Yes, I have told them they lacked a little creativity in choosing a name for my wife.) They live a few miles outside Jefferson City. They have spent nearly every major holiday with our family for many, many years. This was true even when we lived in St. Louis and Atlanta. They were a tremendous help us to during the early years of our married life, and we continue to feel very close to them.

Today we have the privilege of helping them. Their health problems sometimes mean they need our help and care. Bettie Jo and I have talked many times about the fact that it is our turn to provide the care and support. We think that is what family means.

We also had the chance to visit my mother a couple days after Thanksgiving. (With eight children and more than fifty grandchildren and great grandchildren, it is really better if we do not all show up at the same time.) We did see one of my brothers and one of my sisters their some of their families. Bettie Jo and my mother share a lot of common interests and perspectives. They regularly share books they are reading.

When we gather for Thanksgiving it is not unusual for us to think of family and friends. When we gather for our traditional dinner we hold hands and invite each person present to share something for which they are thankful. Most of the time the primary thing mentioned is family.

One of the greatest blessings God has given us is each other. Have you ever considered what our lives would be like without our families. These are the people who know us the best—flaws and all—and they still love and care for us. With these blessings comes great responsibility. We not only receive care, but we offer care for each other. The family is the first place we learn about responsibility. I am thankful for my family, and I am glad to accept the responsibility that comes with it.

This article was originally written for our Churchnet page in Word&Way.