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Some Thoughts On A Family Banquet

One of the great things about the Christmas season as it is celebrated by Canadians is the family get-togethers. There is always lots of food, feasting and fun.

But when family is far away, or estranged, those family gatherings that everyone else enjoys can rip the skin off of old scars.

That is why the church family is most important and most welcome. The church family is made up of every tribe, tongue and nation (Rev. 7:9). It is made up of those who are ‘born again’ (John 3). It has a unity based on the bond of a common Father to which we are heirs, along with Jesus Christ the Son (Rom. 8:17), and one Spirit (Eph. 4:3-6). We enjoy those ancient family promises given to Abraham, promises received by faith (Gal. 3:9).

This family is not based on ethnicity, socio-economic status, age or any other ‘affinity.' It is based upon the gospel of Jesus Christ and our relationship to Him.

At the Calvary Grace Christmas Banquet, I was reminded of this idea of the church as a family by two things. First of all, I noticed something as I looked out over the packed lower hall at St. John's. I saw the diversity of the people represented. There was young and old, married and single, empty nesters and mothers with new infants, toddlers and teenagers, those from Hyderabad and those from High River, folk singers and footballers, and all of them in love with the gospel of Jesus Christ, loving the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The second thing was a comment shared by a guy who has come to Calvary Grace with his family in the last year. He commented about how his church back home was like a family, but how it was possible to become part of a new church family in a short time. I said that it was one of the more encouraging things that I had heard from anyone. I knew that it is easy for churches to not seem like families at all, but rather odd affinity groups, pyramid organizations or concert venues. That Calvary Grace was like a family, was as it ought to be. But I also thought that it is rarer than it ought to be.

Christmas is a time of thanksgiving for the gift of the Son. Make a point of thanking God for the family that is the church, which the Son purchased with his own blood. Don’t take this family for granted. God has intended this family to continue in feasting and fun for heaven’s eternity. (Rev. 19:6-9)