Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Way We Were

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...

So boring!

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.


Heather said...

Thank you for this. I am just starting my life as a parent, my son is 7 months, and already I'm mulling over in my heart and mind ways to nurture faith and family and entertaining fears that I will push too hard. Thank you for the reminder to think about what things I remember from my childhood with fondness now, whether I liked them at the time or not.

Sam said...

You're welcome, Heather. I wish you the best as you try to be a good mommy. Thank YOU for reading today!

Ox said...

Kids don't remember gifts they are bought or money they are given....they remember things mom and dad did with them. This is so important. Modern life is so hectic but we have to make time to do things together as a family and a family devotion should be at the top of that list. I need to do it too. Strong families are very difficult to break. How better to strengthen a family than through the word of God. Awesome Sam!

Dina Maas said...

I'm so glad that I read about your blog on your daughter's blog. Your most recent post reminded me of my dad, who we lost to cancer a year ago. As kids, my brothers and I would roll our eyes sometimes when he'd bring us all together for family devotions or try to teach us an important lesson. He was a great teacher though and always knew how to make us laugh or leave us with a smile. I'm thankful for his spiritual guidance and his example, especially now that I'm a mom.

Sam said...

Welcome, Dina! Having lost my own dad to cancer many years ago and, now, being a "Sampa" myself, your words move something deep in me.


Sandra said...

What a sad turn at the end when you told about your little sister dying so young. I'm sure it makes those times that your family gathered for devotions, and all your other memories that include her, just that much more prescious.