Our Family Tree

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November has been found to be the month pock-marked by the most depression.

Ironic I would say…the month of our giving thanks, marked by the biggest struggle to see just what indeed we are thankful for.

Giving thanks and depression swirl together like a candy cane and form this hunched over, broken life we call our own.

The holidays seem to bring out the best and the worst. Our memories of past holidays pepper our days with joy and anticipation. But life seeps in and expectations go unmet and feelings get hurt and bubbles burst. Depression settles and digs in deep.

And our families fail us with that one (or two or ten) offense. That wrong word spoken. That unwanted opinion voiced. And the seams of our relationships tear just a little bit.

And right there in the midst of giving thanks a family rips apart. Violent and messy.

Some families tear straight down the middle. Jagged, deep, soul wounds.

Others quietly separate as each person walks away, backs turned, hunched over with the weight of it all, not caring enough to engage in the fight for togetherness.

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And how can we be thankful for this mess of souls we call our family?

How do we live amongst a quilt of torn seams and rough edges?

We can because Jesus did.

Surrounding every account of Jesus’ birth, comes mention of his family tree. Messy to say the least. In it, we find mention of four women. Four women who were used up, messed up, overlooked, and broken down. In it we find other family members fallen into adultery, murder, deceit, and prostitution. ***

And this is what was prophesized years before of that messed up family Jesus claimed as His own. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit…..In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious.” Isaiah 11: 1, 10

And our families resemble that stump. Cut off, used up, worn out, and torn down.

But there was that Shoot. That one Shoot, that branch of life that rose up out of the broken down and brought to life that stump of a Tree. The Giver of Life rose from that broken down place and offered up hope to a dying world….to dying families and dying relationships.

And a remnant of that torn apart family is salvaged.

And we have hope because of that one Branch. We give thanks for that stump of a family we call our own. For out of the mess, He brings healing. Out of our broken down places, He brings hope.

And we turn back to that torn up quilt of our lives and look for ways to mend the tearing seams. A patchwork quilt made whole again by His birth, death and resurrection.

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***taken from Ann Voskamp’s book, The Greatest Gift

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