Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Family Feast

Reading this week in John 4, I came across this verse:

So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
(John 4:45 ESV)

Those Galileans knew a good thing when they saw it. They knew it because they had been at a good place. They had gone to the feast.

This verse made me think of a recent and reoccurring conversation my husband, Lou, and I had (again) the other day.

This will probably come as a shock, but the reoccurring conversation Lou and I have concerns our children. We usually have it after a serendipitous moment happens in our family. (I use the word serendipitous in a sovereign sort of way;).

 The typical set up to the conversation goes along the following lines:

        -We want our kids to do something/go somewhere (a "feast" if you will) with us.
        -They do not want to do the thing or go to the place with us.
        -We make them.
        -They make their displeasure known in one way or another. (This sentence is a euphemism.)
        -We question (privately, to each other) whether the said "feast" is worth it.
        -We waver (don't tell the kids), but know time with them is the real issue, so yes, it's worth it.
        -We reaffirm our decision with concerned party.
        -They are excited (not).
        -We go to said "feast."


         -Sometime during our time together (our "feast"), something happens that makes everybody glad we did what we did or went where we went. I mean, really glad. We laugh our heads off for some completely unforeseen reason or we see/hear/feel/experience something, that, because it was experienced together, cements the ties that bind even further.

It's after these moments that we have the conversation. We talk about being together in the right place at the right time. How we couldn't have seen "the moment" coming. We remind ourselves that some of the best - probably most of the best - moments we've had as a family have been completely unforeseen and unplanned. We then are thankful that we, at times, forced the quantity time upon one or more of the kids that day. The preciousness of that moment seems kind of fragile even - a "whew, we almost missed that" kind of shiver.

But we hadn't missed it. We had made the effort to go to "the feast." We didn't know something great was going to happen. So often, it is so much easier to let our kids stay put and veg. It is easier to give in to the balk than to give out more of myself in relationship. Because, honestly, we're tired - and kids hanging out at home are easier than kids in the car.

Let me clarify that we don't always force them to participate when they have legitimate reasons not to. That's not wise either. That's being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nobody's welcome there. Hopefully, we use wisdom in each situation.

I know I'm stretching to get where I went in this post, because John wasn't talking about parenting points when he related this story. But God, once again, met me right where I am. He reminded me of this aspect of my parenting journey through the words about Galileans. Galileans who put themselves in a good place - not knowing that they'd see Jesus. Those miracle moments were completely unforeseen. But being in that place, seeing those moments, prepped them to do what brings more joy than anything else - welcome Jesus.

So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
(John 4:45 ESV)

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