It’s Thanksgiving 2017. I am not sure when this will be published, but I woke up this morning thinking of all the different branches of family I’m with today.
It’s my husband’s family. None are my blood relatives, and some aren’t even my husband’s blood relatives, but they are our family, both by marriage, adoption, and as the body of Christ.
I have been grafted in where there were already different vines that combined and grew together over many years.
Before becoming a part of that family, I grew up on a farm in Bibb County, Alabama, where my grandfather planted acres and acres of crops every year…tractors, overalls, sun, rain, long days.
Have you ever had to shell peas, snap green beans or shuck corn by hand? Oh my goodness…I did not like it at all. The summer my grandparents bought a pea sheller, a metal contraption with a roller that somehow separated the shells from the peas, was wonderful. Don’t get me started on removing corn silk with an old toothbrush. Seriously.
But, they were born and raised during a time that if you wanted food on the dinner table, then there was work to be done. Sowing, reaping and harvesting.
I learned that farmers can graft fruits and vegetables to produce different crops, be seedless, or create a hybrid that’s something completely new.
Plant grafting is a procedure in which parts of plants are joined together with the ultimate intention of making them unite and continue growing as one plant. A grafted plant, therefore, is a composite of parts derived from two or more plants.
Families, particularly those of Christian faith, are people derived from two or more last names, seeking to unite under one ultimate banner.
It doesn’t have to be from a perfect lineage, because we can all be made new in Christ. Everyone is invited to His table.
So, tables around this country, and all over the world, can represent any background, race and relationship, of those who share His Spirit.
I’ve mentioned it in previous blog posts that my grandmother had a Norman Rockwell calendar hanging in her kitchen when I was younger, and I always loved the table scene with the turkey, and the family gathered together.
It is what I’ve always wanted, and I had it for a while when I was younger.
Now, I am realizing I just have another version of this painting. I don’t have to be bitter that it isn’t one void of divorce, or empty chairs that are now filled by someone else.
God has woven people into my life, and mine into theirs, to create His ultimate table. It’s actually doesn’t have to look like this one.
But, more like this…
My family includes what the world would refer to half-sisters, half-brothers, stepchildren, adopted children, in-laws, or just incredibly close friends that you consider family.
Even though many of us are not blood-relatives, we have been grafted into one family, and as believers in Christ, and that bond is the strongest one we can share.
Again, everyone is invited to His table. Everyone has the chance for the family they desire.
No one has to be left out or feel inferior, but you have to choose to be at that table.
Yes, God is good and loving, but He isn’t going to force you. He is holy and requires certain obedience and sacrifice.
It is your choice to pull up a chair. Don’t blame anyone else if you don’t have a seat.
“Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “come and dine.”
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