Our Family Trees Start at the Roots

And Some of the Branches May Not Be the Best

Every one of us has a family and every family has a story. Each of these stories is different. Some are comedies, some are fairy tales, some are mysteries, some are fantasies, and some are horror stories.

I’m fortunate to have an amazing family. Is isn’t perfect…no, but none are.

We all have memories of family…both good and bad. We are a combination of who God made us to be and our life experiences.

No matter what our family story is, we have the power to write our own chapter.

We all come from someone, somewhere, and something…a people, a place, and a story. So does Jesus.

Currently we are going through an Advent study, Roots: Advent and the Family Story of Jesus at church. Pastor Lisa’s message on Sunday was tied to the study.

The heart and mission of Jesus is better understood by exploring the roots that grew into Jesus’s life. The roots of Jesus are his family tree and its characters, the land of Israel – its towns and terrain, and the incredible faith-story of God’s covenant people, the Jews.

In Roots: Advent and the Family Story of Jesus, there is the rediscovery that Jesus — born naturally of a mother from a family line herself, and nurtured by a father who knew the names of his family many generations into the past (Matthew 1:1–17) — comes from the family vine of the great King David, the son of Jesse, and from a long line of faithful men and women.

Both Jesus’ genealogical ancestry and His faith heritage take us on a journey through the stories of saints and sinners woven into the family line of the Son of God.

Yes, you read that right, there were both saints and sinners in Jesus’ family tree.

Just because our family trees have some bad branches doesn’t mean that we must be bad. We can choose what kind of branch we will be.

In Matthew 1:6, we see that Jesse was the father of David the king of the Jews. In Isaiah 11:1-3, we read that a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse.

Have you ever seen a live tree cut down and just the stump is left? If you have then you know how new trees can sprout up from that stump. Often many more than just one tree. This growing and spreading of trees is the same in families.

The importance of family is evident with the popularity of people searching for their family ancestry. This desire to know who and where we come from is a part of who we are.

A tree is a great way to represent the growing and spreading of families with the relationships through a tree and branches.

If we go back far enough in our family tree, we will end up at the beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There were times throughout history when the tree was cut down and sprouted again.

We need to celebrate our history and grow into the branch that we were meant to be.

We Should Be Willing to Take a Risk Because it’s the Right Thing to Do

It’s All About Believing in the Right Thing and Having Faith

Do places have a memory?

Have you ever felt connected to a place through memories. These could be your memories or others.

I have this kind of connection at home. The house I live in was built in 1916 by my great grandfather. My grandmother on my mom’s side of the family grew up in this house. Then my mother and her sisters grew up here. Now I live there and have raised my family in this house.

To say that I have memories here is an understatement. I have childhood memories of Christmases, Sunday evening suppers, 4th of July fireworks, butchering chickens, putting hay in the barn and on and on. In discussions with my mom and aunts, I’ve heard stories of their memories, too.

All these memories, both heard and lived, have played a part in my feelings for this farm. It has been a part of making me who I am. It’s more than that…it is a part of who I am.

I can see my grandmother and mother running through the house in bare feet on the same floors that I walk on every day.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. This commemorates Jesus’s walking into Jerusalem and the people waving palm branches in greeting.

 On His way to Jerusalem, He walked over the Mount of Olives. Like my house holds memories for me, the Mount of Olives held memories for the Jews.

As Jesus walked over there, He would have seen King David as he was fleeing his son Absalom. He would have seen Zacharia as he prophesied. He would have seen all the faces of the people to be the first to be raised from the dead buried in the cemetery there on the Mount of Olives.

Memories are both good and bad. It’s up to us to decide which ones we are going to focus on.

Paul Veneto is a retired flight attendant who worked out of Logan International Airport. On Sept 10, he landed back home in Boston. The next day was off. That’s when United Flight 175, the flight he was an attendant on, flew into the World Trade Center.

He knew the people who were working on that flight. They were his friends and coworkers. This was hard for Paul, he could have been on that plane…he should have been on that plane. He felt guilty about it. Dealing with this Veneto fell into drug addiction.

After being off opioids for six years, in 2015 he decided he would walk the 220 miles from Boston to ground zero pushing a beverage cart to honor the memory of his coworkers and bring attention to them.

This is focusing on the good memories.

We need to remember that the things we do every day will be memories for us and others.

Sometimes this means making difficult and unpopular choices. It can be risky to do the right thing. As we approach Easter, we need to remember what Jesus did for us. He knew the price. He knew that it was risky, but He did it anyway…because it was the right thing to do.

When we are faced with scary situations, we need to remember Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. Having faith in Him can give us the courage we need to do the scary things in life.

The Importance of Taking a Walk Down Memory Lane

Memories Help Us to Know Who We Are and Who We Can Be

This past Sunday we had another “faith sharing Sunday” combined with a 5th Sunday hymn sing. I’ve shared in previous posts about the “faith sharing Sundays”. This is where people have shared the stories of their faith journeys.

Wilma and Arlan shared their stories this time. I had heard most of these stories before, considering that they are my aunt and uncle. Even so, it is always good to hear them again and revisit those memories.

A 5th Sunday hymn singing is just what it sounds like. It’s singing to the Lord with happy songs and make music to the Lord in our hearts. We haven’t done this for a while and it was a nice reminder of my growing up in this church.

Both of these things transported me back to my youth and so many great memories. To the point of it being hard to see the page through my tears as I write this. Memories of Jim Nichols and my time as a teenager singing next to him in the choir, or when he would lead hymns and hold out notes for an exceptionally long time.

Memories are a powerful thing.

Music has an amazing way of connecting us to memories and feelings. When you hear a specific song, it can remind you of a time and a place so much that it transports you back there.

Like hearing Buck Owns, Hank Williams or Glenn Campbell and being taken back to watching Hee Haw with my family or working along side my Dad. Then I’m dragging Main Steet or on a date when I hear Boston, Journey, Kansas or the Doobie Brothers. Bluegrass music takes me to Stu Mossman’s home or guitar shop and sitting there with him as he teaches me to play the guitar.

Something about music invokes feelings.

Granted, not all memories are good, nevertheless they are a part of who we are. We are an accumulation of those memories and who we choose to be. It’s up to us to decide what we will do with them.

Our past is a part of our present.

This means that our present is a part of our future…not only ours but the future of those people we interact with. We have a responsibility to relate with others in such a way that is beneficial to both our futures.

My friend Shep is writing a book that speaks to the importance of this connection. He is sharing situations with people from his past that have affected his present. His purpose of this book is to help others understand the importance of these connections in hopes that it will lead to a better future.

Our actions today will affect the future…be wise in those actions.