It was meant to be serious. Our family, gathered around the living room for "Family Devotions."
The oldest of four kids, I approached those moments with growing reluctance. I had heard about the importance of doing this and I knew my parents wanted to make it work. Still, taking the time to sit in a room and listen to a familiar chapter from Egermeier's Bible Story Book was not my idea of fun. Besides, the eight years that separated me and my kid brother, along with two sisters wedged in the middle, made these times so...
I mean, I knew the stories. I had looked at all the pictures. I'm sure I could have dreamed up at least a hundred different things I would rather be doing. To top it off, one of the younger siblings always wanted to read and they couldn't do that very well yet.
I "suffered" through it, though. My family was so busy that we didn't take the time to have devotions that often. Now, so many years later, I remember. And I'm so grateful!
We are working on Christmas events among our church staff. This year, the season kicks off with a "Family Worship Sunday" on November 30. Kathie, our Children's Minister, asked if we might introduce and train our people to do Family Advent times in their own homes. We love the idea.
Kathie's family did this when her kids were small, but a page is missing from the book they used as a guide. She couldn't accurately recall what the theme was on the missing page so she asked one of her grown daughters. Her daughter said, "Mom, I don't remember much of what we did in Family Advent. I just remember how special it was that we took the time together."
It was Kathie's comment that sparked the idea of this post. You see, I really don't remember much of the content of those Family Devotions.
But I do remember!
I remember bowing our heads for a prayer time. We were each encouraged to offer up some kind of intercession. The prayer time usually started seriously enough. More times than I can count, though, one of my little sisters would start giggling while someone else prayed.
Then the other sister would put her hand over her mouth and try to control herself. My little brother and I would soon be (attempting to stay quiet) shaking in our own glee. Finally, with my dad trying to maintain some type of "spirituality", my mom would lose it.
As I said, I'm so grateful for those unforgettable moments. They are treasures tucked away in our hearts. They can't be recaptured.
The younger of my sisters, Carol Beth Norris, died of a heart infection on December 6, 1976. She was 20.