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When Friends Become Family

I am truly thankful. This time of year is special because mindfulness and gratitude is in the air, even though the holidays are upon us. Can you hear the collective groan? Some people go absolutely crazy for the holidays. Some, like myself, cringe a little at the thought. It’s not that we don’t like the holidays, or maybe it is. It may just be that the busy pace is exhausting. It seems as soon as the leaves start turning and falling, you blink and suddenly we’re having Christmas Eve service at church!

When Autumn arrives, I look forward to changing the decor to fall items. Although our family does not decorate for Halloween, it is a big part of how we serve our community at Oasis Church. We set up a nice spread for our neighbors right out in front on the main street. We grill hot dogs, serve hot chocolate and coffee and of course, give out tons of candy to the trick-or-treaters. It’s a tradition that our church family enjoys immensely, as does the community.

Our church congregants are far more than parishioners. They are family. For as long as we’ve been pastors at Oasis, we’ve opened up our home, the church parsonage, every Wednesday night for community group. We share a pot-luck meal, have bible study and join in ways we can serve our community.

As I was tidying up the house for this evening‘s meal night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I am for these people that have become family. I realize how blessed we really are. Tonight, we’ll celebrate a birthday, eat, laugh, talk about our lives and events in our community and news at large. I’ve come to know these people in a way that is hard to find. Sometimes, people come that are hurting and lonely, in need of a place to belong. A place they can find family.

When I am out and about, I look around at how unhappy, hurried and frenzied people seem. I want to invite them in where they can find some peace and community like what we’ve cultivated. I know there are great churches out there like this, but more is needed.

One of the most beautiful things about Christ’s church is this: we “get to” live closely in community as family. This is where we find love, acceptance and a place to belong. We should be the most generous and hospitable people on earth. I’m thankful we “get to” live in this way.

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