This Wednesday evening via Zoom, we begin our Advent Sharing Series for all ages: Come Home for Christmas. As we explore what it means to make room and home for others, we’ll work through projects in our own homes, using materials from Rev. Lisa Straus. You can view the series overview on our website and read the materials for this evening’s session here.
While most weeks of this series focus on a Christmas preparation activity we may already be involved in, this week begins with something a bit different: a family tree. Fresh from Thanksgiving and heading into the time of sending holiday cards, emails, and texts, we’ll pause to depict our families as we choose to name them.
To state the painfully obvious, family relationships are not always easy. My mom sometimes jokes about the King James Version of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Of course, the meaning of the passage is that a brother (relative, kin) is born to help and aid in times of adversity, just as a friend would. But to our modern ears, it can sound more like, “A friend loves you always; a brother is born to cause trouble.” As the older sibling to just one brother, that resonated. 🙂
The scriptures are filled with stories of feuds among kin, something many of us have lived through at one point or another. Rev. Straus challenges us when constructing our trees to include and pray for those people with whom we’ve had a more difficult relationship. Ahead of gatherings where the presence or absence of certain people may be particularly felt, this practice helps prepare our hearts (make room) for other possibilities.
I hope you’ll join for one or more sessions of the series. Or consider joining with Women in the Word (Wednesday mornings at 8 via Zoom) as they read through the book Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem.