The last several weeks have been chock-full of family-- either time with, or references to. We've spent time with Mr. M's family, I've met a half-brother for the first time (my father was... erm... prolific), I've cringed through various dramas on all sides of the family, I've attended one wedding where the families really seemed to like each other, and finally, I've listened to one Christmas sermon on how wonderful babies are.
So, I've been thinking about family from a lot of angles.
I've been thinking about whether the fact that someone is related to you is important. I have (see prolific pater familias, above) an awful lot of family I've never met. I have other family members who don't treat each other at all well. Geographical distance pretty much keeps me out of both groups, but I have questions about whether shared genes matter.
I've been thinking about whether it would be a good idea to add another generation to extended families that don't love each other very well. Honestly, it makes me a little queasy. I've been particularly struggling with this over the last several months. The Christmas Eve service felt really painful in light of this question.
I've been thinking about how precious the family you choose is. I've been able to travel a lot this year (not long trips, just a few states away, but several times), and on each trip I've been able to see people I love dearly. They're not technically sisters, brothers, cousins, and grandfathers, but my soul thinks they are.
I've been thinking about what we owe each other, as biological families, and whether that's really different from what we all owe each other as human beings.
During the Eucharist, I often think about the body of Christ all over the world receiving Communion with me: Rob, Nancy, Charlotte, Mary Beth, Diane, Kate, Robin, and scores more. Family.
And in the midst of all of this, I'm hearing Jesus rhetorically ask, "who are my mother and brothers?"