By Danny Minton
Every year, I try to attend the family reunion on my dad’s side. Like many families, the Minton family has always made it a point to get together on a yearly basis to keep in touch. I believe this is an important part of a family’s legacy and should be a practice that every family should make a part of their tradition.
While driving home a few years back, my mind raced back to reunions of years past. I remember the Fourth of July reunions that took place in, I believe, my Uncle Carl’s backyard when he lived next door to my Granny Minton. I remember when the cousins went around to all the uncles gathering everyone’s change together and then being carted off to the fireworks stand, returning with a treasure box of exploding missiles, bottle rockets, and Roman candles.
I thought of all the Christmases that the family would get together in Granny’s house. I remembered the joking and laughter of my aunts and uncles and the cousins racing through the house and being made sure their every need was met by Granny. I can still hear the knock on the door as my Uncle Clyde came in dressed as Santa Claus. “Where are your reindeer?” several of us shouted. Without a pause, he quickly told us “You didn’t have a chimney, so I parked them down at the corner.” Of course, we all believed him.
The sounds of dominoes shuffling as my uncles played “42” at the kitchen table are still clear in my head. I see my Aunt Mary enjoying and doting over every niece and nephew. I hear the distinctive laugh of my Uncle Troy. I listened to my Uncle Carl talk about the antique Ford he was restoring in his garage. In fact, as I remember it, every single aunt and uncle had a great fondness for every niece and nephew. I can still see the presents, taste the food, hear the stories, smell the tree and feel the presence of love in the small house in Dallas, Texas.
Years later as I returned it was all still there. Yes, most of my aunts and uncles are now gone, but their spirit lives on in their children and grandchildren. There were familiar and not so familiar faces, yet there was still a bond that pulsated through the room. It was the bond of family. A bond of love that had been started years ago by a hardworking matriarch. A woman who after the death of her husband moved forward with a house full of children for whom to provide. A woman who I watched iron clothes for a living at 10 and 15 cents apiece, when most women her age were sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch.
As I looked at the house full of people I thought to myself, “What better legacy to leave than a family that continues to love each other and wants to be with each other decades after you have left this earth.” I felt the ever-present remnants of family love that remained from bygone years.
I’m also reminded of a second family reunion. This one is not yearly but weekly. It’s the reunion we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ as we gather together with Him on Sunday mornings. It’s a time of joy and love provided by our most great and wonderful Patriarch. The one who loves us and takes care of our every need.
I’m reminded of the church in Acts 2. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
It is there too in this setting that you will feel the presence of love, the love of our Lord and Savior and our God, our Patriarch. When a church continues to have this spirit, when it continues to band together, it will grow both numerically and spiritually. It is up to leaders to keep the flame alive in the hearts of people and not let it burn out. We are family.
There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ