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Family is the essence of Jesus.

We are all the invariable nature of Him. A lot of us struggle with the word, "family". Especially during the holiday season it can bring it to the surface as if it is a reminder of the restoration that never happened, the mending that is needed, the great loss endured, an incomplete or desire of becoming a family. I, myself, have struggled in a lot of these areas as well.

I have spent some time meditating on the birth of Jesus this past week. God's love showed me a beautiful vision of what family looks like from the birth of our Savior to his death.

The vision I saw: Myself lying near the manger. A few animals lying about. I was just admiring this beautiful child. Such a small infant with such a powerful purpose. My heart beat for Him. I look up and I see his mother. A virgin that conceived, subservient and descendent of King David, rumored about. His father, a man who adopted a son that was not his own. Loyal and obedient. Wise men, who brought gifts and bowed in honor despite their call to bring the child to his death. Shepards, called on by an army of angels. I looked around one more time and saw in great wonder, the family of Jesus was not this perfect explanation of family that we have defined to create measure. But in fact,

Jesus was surrounded by the family of God. A virgin mother, an adoptive father, kings and Shepards! None of these people would have met the standard or expectation of family that we place on ourselves today.

Jesus entire life on unto his death, he was surrounded by family. A family that betrayed him, left him, denied him, and still Jesus continued to love.

Family is the essence of Jesus. We are not the essence of family. I want to encourage you to look around you and start to search for the family that God's love has given you right before your eyes and not the family that you define as lacking or missing. Do you see kings with gifts, Shepards with stories of God's love? do you see a mother that cared for you but did not conceive you? a father that may have adopted you in faith and loyalty? do you see friends that aren't perfect but stay with you no matter the cost? do you see siblings that adopted you as their own? Have you missed the essence of Jesus looking for the expectation of family by measure?

I pray you all have a Merry Christmas! Your family in Christ,

Rita Renee

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