"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them,
"no one who has left home or wife or brothers
or parents or children for the sake of the
kingdom of God will fail to receive many times
as much in this age and, in the age to come,
Luke 18:29, 30.
This Thursday, most people in the United States will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Not being a commercial holiday, advertising pays it little attention. The ads and decorations for Christmas are already in the stores. Thankfully, however, Thanksgiving is still an important family tradition.
It seems the Greek language has a lot of words for our one word, love. Someone once explained to me that the Greek word for family love is Storge. As human beings we are attached to our families either negatively or positively or sometimes both. It is this storge love that keeps us coming together at special times with the hope that we will feel loved and connected with family once again.
On the mission field families are very close to each other. The circumstances of living in a foreign environment increase closeness. The pressure to have children involved in everything from little league to ballet is less. There seems to be more emphasis on family in many other countries. Families are allowed to spend more time with each other. Leisure time is allowed and guilt is heaped on people who refuse leisure rather than on those who work only 40 hours a week. Japan would be the exception to these statements, of course.
This family closeness often gets shattered once an expatriate returns to the states. Family meals are missed because of children's after school activities - because of work - because of church work (See Breakpoint's Beyond Thanksgiving). This is one of the things that makes missionary family reentry difficult. Having people over for a meal doesn't happen much anymore. If there is any hospitality it occurs in a restaurant - see John Mark Hick's latest entry on Samaritan Hospitality. This is another reason Thanksgiving with family is so special in the United States. It's one of the three times in a year when the whole family might get together - when storge love might happen.
So whether you are in the states or you are in another country and can't celebrate this American holiday until Saturday, enjoy your family. Make joyful family memories. Eat together. Invite someone without family to join you. Count your blessings. Bless others and allow others to bless you.