When I was in college, the Church I attended had a custom of adopting students.
Several families participated. Each would choose someone, who would be invited to Sunday dinners and any holiday celebrations whenever that person was in town.
I was really blessed by this. I lived too far away from my parents to go for short breaks, such as Thanksgiving and Easter and in my freshman year, I lived in a dorm, so Sunday dinner with a family was a big treat. I never had to wonder if I would be alone for a holiday; it was a given that I would go to my Church family’s home. I felt loved and nurtured by them.
What a wonderful example of life in the church! The care of this small congregation was about so much more than friendly greetings on Sunday Morning; they recognized and met a real need in practical ways.
I was reminded of this a couple of days ago, when a friend told me that her family invites singles from their Church to share in celebrations. I blessed her for that.
Until recently, I have not been able to count on having somewhere to go; in fact, have spent some holidays alone. I am quite proactive, so these solitary celebrations have not happened because I failed to take action.
My point is this: If you have a way to do it at all, include people from your Church family in celebrations. Ask early; last minute invitations are awkward.
In a broader sense, we either are family or we’re not. If we are, let’s live it out with each other. Drop the barriers of considering family as those who are related by marriage or biology to thinking in a more relational sense. Who do you know that is close to you, belongs to Jesus and really adds to your household? Start there.
As we build authentic, close relationships with each other, even those who challenge us can join more fully. In all likelihood, they will heal and be less difficult to embrace. We will also know and understand them better, so that we are not provoking or rejecting them.
As we take these steps, the Family of Christ becomes stronger, healthier and very blessed.