Legacy is a word often associated with someone who has recently deceased. But how can we be sure that we are creating a godly legacy before we enter the pearly gates? With the age of electronics and generational mobility, oral history is in jeopardy of extinction. How do we preserve our family history in an engaging way?
One way is through family reunions. Every couple of years my family has a gathering of "the Aunts”. The females of the family gather at a central location surrounded by our matriarchal women. This is a weekend filled with storytelling, recipe swapping, and catching up. It is also a time for healing, tears, and lots of laughter. Here are a few tips you might consider before attempting a similar gathering of your own.
We have focused on staying at a relatively inexpensive hotel in a central location. If we were to have this type of gathering at one of our homes, it would mean a lot of planning and work for that person. So, instead we have some time away without thinking about meal planning and cleaning up the kitchen. This way we can focus on each other, rather than all of our duties. If we were to go to a fancy resort, the amenities would compete for our attention.
Because the primary focus is on spending time with one another, activities and plans can get in the way of that objective. We make plans for where we will eat, and beyond that we keep a clean slate. Often, the last day we have together we end up going shopping. But hanging out is the priority.
Have someone write down or record old family stories. Write down questions for the eldest family members so that stories and memories aren’t lost. You’d be surprised how entranced even the youngest of children can be by family folklore.
There are bound to be family tragedies from time to time, and often time set aside for this type of visit provoke healing discussion. Make sure that these kinds of conversations are always ended in prayer. Even family members who are not practicing a Christian lifestyle appreciate an offer for prayer when experiencing painful situations.
Less is generally better! A few days is more than enough! In this time, you will be able to determine who is in charge and who wishes they were in charge. If the visit is too long you are bound to see some hurt feelings and a tongue-lashing or two! If you hate to part from one another, you’ve mastered this arrangement.
Scripture reminds us that where two or more of us are gathered together in His name that He is right there in our midst (Matthew 18:20). Keeping Jesus at the center of every gathering reinvents a family reunion into a family revival and refreshing. God give us families so that we can enjoy fellowship and intimacy. Leaving a family legacy is both fulfilling and valuable.
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster
Rev. Travis Jamieson