Every year we would return home from church and settle in by the warmth of the fire and glow of the christmas tree to sip eggnog and eat shrimp with cocktail sauce and cheese ball with crackers. My mom would read a corny poem she had written about things that had happened that year and inevitably the stories would start flowing…
We would laugh at the vibrating football table my dad had gotten for Christmas as a kid and recall my sister’s tears the year my mom forgot to put any of her presents under the tree. Soon the conversation might turn to how accident prone I am, everyone recounting where they were when they found out I was hit by a car, what a diva my sister was growing up, or how my parents would strap my brother to his chair with a belt at the dinner table when he wouldn’t sit still. I could go on and on but the point is these stories are important to me. They are a part of my history and have played a significant role in shaping who I am – the good and the not so good.
Recounting stories like these brings my family together, it unifies us as we tell our common history. We remember and we’re filled with joy and gratitude, hope and love, privileged to know and to be known. Some of you may be able to relate and others may not, but no matter what your biological family is like, when you entered the family of God you became part of a storied family.
We as God’s people share a common history. We too are a family that has been shaped by stories: stories of creation in all its majesty, the triumph of the exodus, the sorrow of prophets and stubbornness of kings… stories of stunning miracles and the long-awaited Messiah, of bitter death and a resurrection of hope…stories of the early church and persecution. All too often we stop there and simply look forward to the promised end. But God’s story continues… in catacombs and cathedrals, in monasteries and missionary movements in the lives of our mentors and friends.
This is the story we are living out now at LOFT City Church, and the telling of this story brings about growth and unity in the family of God. We tell and retell, remember and reflect, and are filled with joy and gratitude, hope and love, privileged to know and also to be known. This is why God’s call to “remember” is so prevalent throughout all of Scripture – eat and remember, drink and remember, sing and remember, gather and remember who God is and what He has done. In the remembering and telling, the story shapes us and binds us to our Father and our family. God’s story is a story of grace and redemption, brokenness and healing, failure and hope, one in which WE play an integral part. This holiday season, as we gather around fires and meals, lattes and trees, let’s remember and tell God’s story, our story, to each other and to the world – inviting them to join the family.
“Give thanks to Yahweh; call on His name;
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him; sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
Honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek His face always.
Remember the wonderful works He has done,
His wonders, and the judgements He has pronounced,
you offspring of Israel His servant,
Jacob’s descendants – His chosen ones…
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Proclaim His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonderful works among all peoples.” – 1 Chronicles 16:8-13,23-24