Things are starting to return to normal after the hustle and bustle of Christmas. The Christ child has been born and He has been with His mother and Joseph, living the first several days of His earthly life. We know painfully little about the early life of Jesus with the exception that he was teaching in the synagogue and the elders were amazed at His knowledge of God.
It is presumed that Mary and Jesus, along with His half brothers, spent their childhood together and Jesus eventually performed His first miracle at the request of His mother at a wedding feast in Cana. Notice that this miracle, the turning of water to wine, occurred at a ceremony where a family was created – the union of a man and woman in matrimony. Once again, we learn that family was important to Jesus.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus emphasized the importance of family and considered women an important part of His ministry when women were considered little more than possessions. Jesus broke new ground in the acceptance of women in roles of society.
And once again, as I have done for the past thirteen years or so, I have chosen to continue to work on continuing to be a better husband and father in 2016. This tradition started when a friend of mine and I discussed things we could work on to honor God in the process of growing in our own lives. We both believed that we could do better jobs leading our families and setting an example for our children to follow. Each year since, we have continued to work on this project – the fact is that I don’t think we can ever become perfect parents or spouses.
So the work on this most important role in the family continues. Earlier this week, our daughter Jill reminded me that as I go, so goes the family. Although I know that in my gut, it emphasized the fact that I need to work on my leadership skills and make sure that I continue to set a positive tone for the entire family next year. Many times, I don’t know that parents realize that they set the pace for the entire family unit. If they don’t have the proper attitude with regards to how they can grow as parents, everyone in the family suffers.
As Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL says, “When leaders get better, everyone benefits…” How right he is. The problem is that we think of this at work, and with our professional teams, but it is important to realize that we need to work on the most important team we have – the family unit we are a part of. As every parent knows, that’s not easy… kids try our patience, no matter how old they are. And as spouses, we must continue to demonstrate the love for each other that God did with Jesus, and that Jesus models for us. It’s that important!
So as we approach the beginning of the New Year, I want to encourage you to consider designating 2016 as the “Year of the Family.” Our verse for this evening highlights the command that Jesus gave us. In John 13:34-35, we are told, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
My encouragement this evening is that families are important and the nucleus of the family is love. My prayer is that you will consider joining me in a quest to be the best family member you can be – and that you will designate 2016 as the “Year of the Family.” Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…