Today is my Mom’s 88th birthday. She is doing well and doesn’t mind me telling folks her age. I am blessed that both of my parents are great and enjoying these fall days. (The picture of them is from our train ride in Branson, Missouri, about two weeks ago.)
It was from those two, amazing people, Bill and Norma Mullins, that I first learned the importance of “gathering together.” Growing up in the home that they created meant spending quality time with family and friends, and meeting and learning from new people. My Poppa knows no strangers. And, no one ever left my Mom’s home hungry or in search of a place to spend the night.
They believe in community. In family. In hospitality. In being generous with your time, your talents, your resources and your heart. Daily they strive, without looking like they are working at it, to get closer to God, to each other and to family and friends.
For the past three years, I have shared stories about the holidays and this year won’t be any different. But, before we start all of that, I want to begin this year’s holiday series by asking “what should I do to intentionally gather together?” During this time of celebration, I want to grow closer to God and John and family and friends. And, I want to spend some time “gathering” myself “together.”
2016 has been a strange year. Our housing situation is still unusual and challenging. I have spent the last four months learning how to use my new, artificial knee. A presidential election is only a week away and the media screams daily about growing divisions in our nation. And, all three of our amazing granddaughters are college students, learning new things about people and about life.
Like never before, I feel the need to pause, reflect and consider, “what should I do to intentionally gather together?”
Join me on this journey to 2017.
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known; The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing; Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine; So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant, And pray that Thou still our Defender will be; Let Thy congregation escape tribulation; Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!