15.7.17

3 Crucial Reasons to Attend Your Next Family Reunion

by Sally Matheny
Smushy Kisses at Family Reunions

Is there cringing, wincing, and gnashing of teeth at just the thought of a family reunion? 

Perhaps you had an agonizing experience as a child. A crinkled stranger planted smushy kisses on your cheek. Then, pulling you away from your mom, the stranger weaved you through a chattering sea of unfamiliar faces. Finally, she anchored you both in front of another foreign body and the torture began.

“This is your mother’s great aunt’s, second cousin, Bertha, who first married Joe Schmitt, who was a tire salesman, but then he died, and about ten years ago she married John Brown, who manufactures straight pins in Detroit and he just so happens to be your dad’s podiatrist's first cousin! How about that?”

Excruciating. 

But you’re an adult now and here are three crucial reasons why you need to attend your next family reunion.


Remember

When multiple generations gather, there will always be times of remembering moments from the past. Births, school days, weddings, funerals, and even the embarrassing incidents some wish others would forget. While certain memories mean more to some folks than others, this is your heritage. 

Even if you’re attending your spouse’s family reunion, you can learn a great deal. Maybe listening to your mother-in-law’s childhood memories will give you a better understanding of why his family celebrates Christmas the way they do. What annoyed you in the past, may be perceived differently now.

Too often, an unforgiving spirit
is a person's only legacy.
Pausing to reflect on the past brings joy, knowledge, and healing. Perhaps the reason many people resist a family reunion is due to a past hurt.   

Aunt Bertha said or did something she shouldn’t have five, ten, or fifty years ago and for whatever reason people chose to hold onto that strife rather than letting it go. 

Bitterness was chosen over forgiveness. Pain over joy. Too often, an unforgiving spirit is a person’s only legacy.
     
What healing might take place if you go to your next family reunion?


Record

If there’s emotional or physical healing in the family, record it! Everybody has a story. A family reunion is a wonderful time to record those stories. Make a scrapbook or journal. Better yet, make a video.

Are there any veterans willing to share their experiences? Those who survived a war may provide fresh perspectives to a younger generation.

Who survived an accident or a disease? A problem at work or their first day of high school? Survivors bring strength and hope to the family.

Ask the older ones to recall interesting tidbits about the family’s ancestry.

Even recording opinions on current events will be an interesting piece of history for the next generation.

Survivors bring strength and hope to the family.
Family reunions are never the same. The dynamics change. People come and go, jobs vary, and events alter our lives.


Most of the time we never submerge past the friendly greetings. Families need to go deeper conveying their life experiences. True stories inspire us and can encourage us to keep pressing onward. Everybody has a story that can affect others. You need to share your story.



Recount

If nothing else, family members need to recount God’s blessings to the next generation. How have you seen God working in your life and the lives of others?

Describe times when God answered your prayers, when he brought healing, and when your needs were met.


Share experiences where your faith was tested and God was glorified. Consider the value others could glean from lessons you learned through setbacks and poor decisions.

If you carve out time for your next family reunion and share the love of Christ, what are the possible eternal rewards? 

It is not within our power to fathom how God can use us. He is capable of making transformations we never thought possible.

 

…which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
 so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they, in turn, would tell their children.
 Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
Psalm 78:5b-7 (NIV)



Is it time for a family reunion?

Live out your faith at the next family reunion!
Reflect on what’s worth remembering, and what things are best left in the past.

Record family stories to share for generations to come. Recount God’s blessings and faithfulness.

It’s quite possible, family reunions will have a quirk or two. With a large gathering of imperfect humans, we’ll experience occasional flawed moments.

For some, showing love to family is more difficult than it is to friends. God freely offers His assistance with that. He’s the master demonstrator of mind-boggling grace.  

If you truly believe you’ll attend a perfect, glorious, and joyful heavenly reunion one day, then live it out at your next earthly, family reunion.




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