Why We Gather
Why We Gather
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)
My dad came from a large family, with eight brothers and seven sisters. Growing up, we would gather at Christmastime with my aunts, uncles and cousins in my grandparents’ basement, feasting on holiday goodness in rows of long tables with folding chairs. In the summer, we’d spend a weekend at a local campground, sharing potluck meals featuring prized family recipes and singing around the campfire while my dad and uncles played guitar.
As my immediate family of origin grew, we created our own traditions. My parents, brothers, and I celebrated birthdays together when our kids were young, making a point to gather even though we didn’t always live near each other. As our kids grew older, lives got busier, and the logistical puzzle of coordinating a gathering with so many people began to outweigh the fun. Then the pandemic hit, and we moved away from the habit altogether.
Recently, my middle brother texted, inviting us to their house for a birthday bash and pool party. “Whose birthday are we celebrating?” I asked, assuming it was for his wife and stepson, whose birthdays were close to that date. I was pleasantly surprised when he rattled off a list of family birthdays spanning several months. “It will be a blast!” he promised.
His invitation made me realize how much I missed our birthday get-togethers. There’s something special about coming together as a family, about staying connected to roots and traditions.
When our family gathers, we are tethered to both our past and our future. We reminisce about when we were younger and we share memories of relatives now gone. We celebrate the next generation, with their hopes and dreams for the future. In doing so, we remember who we are and where we’ve come from.
It’s the same reason we come together as believers. We remember where we came from – who we were before salvation and what Jesus has done for us. We encourage each other in our present struggles and celebrate our stories of victory in Christ. Gathering is sacred and important. Let’s not neglect it.
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