Living in a large family has given me a very real perspective about life. I do not dream of a fairytale wedding because I know that marriage goes far deeper. I look at "great ideas" though the eyes of practicality and nurturing maturity. I see babies as the next generation of men and women who will lead in tomorrow's battles.
In many ways, I would lose so much Biblical and spiritual inspiration if I were to step out as a single independent. I would not know the joy of waking up every morning and smiling at each of my eight sisters all crowded into the same room. I would not know the laughter that takes place around our over-crowded dinning table while sharing half of a chair with one sibling and half of a chair with another. I would not know the thrill of sneaking cookie dough to five brothers. I would not hear the "cafeteria" chatter at lunch and smile because they're all ours. I would miss out on the joy of squeezing into our small living room, then lifting the ceiling with the voice of a mighty choir. I would not have so many dear relationships of such varied diversity, yet with such a strong, common bond.
I don't have empty nights alone. I don't struggle with having too much time on my hands--though I still manage to have time for pursuing personal interests. I do not face shock when I have to deal with other roommates or co-workers; my life is full and good.
To me, marriage means companionship through thick and thin, for life. Raising children means giving another generation the opportunity to experience the blessings I had, then sending them out to continue the line and impact the world. No, being in a large family has not left me deprived; instead, it has made life full, good, and sweet.
But, such was not given to me by chance. It was a choice. Not mine, but the choices of those who went before me--the choices of my father and mother, and their fathers and mothers. They chose to travel a road less taken, a road unpopular to the ebb and flow of society. They chose to apply specific principles to their own personal lives, which has influenced our lives far more than rules and regulations, yet has given us far more freedom than a life without boundaries. They chose to remove anything that would hinder us from walking in freedom. They chose to follow after Light and Love.
This season is one of the brightest and most caring times of the year, yet it also is one of the darkest, coldest seasons. This is the time that families come together and celebrate the bond of love, yet this is also the time that pierces the very core of the hearts of the solitude. During this season, people cherish the joys of being surrounded by loved ones, yet during this same season, others realize just how very, utterly, starkly they are alone.
Call it a tribe, call it a team, call it a crew, call it a crowd...or call it the ever-endearing name of family, people were created to need it. Most of the problems in society are rooted in two things, They do not have Love (see 1 John 4:8), and they do not have a place to call home where they can be embraced by family who loves them for who they are--flaws and all--and are always there, supporting and letting each one grow yet stronger.
Would you call it Christmas if there were no lights and no gifts? Yet, there is a Light which is so shamefully forgotten and a Gift that has been so quickly ignored. In the darkness is where depression, doubt, fear, loneliness, and wicked imaginations take hold. But in the soft glow of warm lights where abides true love--love that is unconditional, love that is there in the hard times just as much as in the good--one cannot help but feel those hard, cold claws begin to slowly melt away.
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:13) He is more than just the 'Reason for the season'. He is the Light that can ultimately transform your life--permanently! Psalm 16:11 says, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Did you see that? He said "pleasures for evermore"! That is such an awesome gift that it cannot be given to just anyone--only to those who come to Him in humility, understanding that they are unworthy of such love because of their own natural, sinfulness. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) The very nature of sin is a "life" of death--even before actually dying. But God has offered to all who will humbly bow to His Lordship and receive the Gift of Jesus Christ who laid down His own life to bare our sins, and then rose up in glory and power to offer to the world bright, sweet, satisfying life that will never end. And then, even to the most lonely, He promises to never leave you or forsake you--never lonely again!
Yet, here we come to a choice. Once you have bowed humbly before the Almighty, imploring His mercy and have received his promise of eternal life and crowning Him King in your life, there is yet another blessing He offers:
"God setteth the solitary in families:
he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:
but the rebellious dwell in a dry land." (Psalm 68:6)
Even if you do not have a place to call home with a loving family around you, He brings you into His family along with the many others who have also called upon His name and have placed their hope and trust in Him. You are not alone! Yet, this verse implies even more, He has the ability to give you a home with those you can call your own. They may or may not be flesh and blood kin, but you can have deep relationships where light and true love abide.
However, this is where the choice comes into play: will you seek to share the Light and Love this season, or will you remain secluded in your own world of self-will, being only concerned with what brings you gratification? Will you be the one who will spark the joy because of the joy that God has given you, or will you be isolated in a dry land because you are not being served what you think you deserve? Will you make the choice to remove things in your life that would hinder others from finding a warm, safe haven, or will you be an icy-cold night to someone who is lost in the blizzard of life because you have not been warmed by Light and Love yourself?
Our Lord did not require a palace, though He was from the gates of eternal Paradise. He did not demand worldly glory and pomp, though He deserves all the glory and honor the universe could bestow and more. He did not search for wealth and riches, though He is the Maker of it all. Instead, He was born in a cow trough, grew up in a small town as the son of a carpenter, lived among dirty, wretched, poor paupers, all because He was pursuing our hearts, not our gold.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon
his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
~ Isaiah 9:6 ~