This Christmas, I’m Defining Family by My Single Friends by L. Wilbert
Blood relatives are key to the holiday. But I share a deeper DNA with the body of Christ.
Every Saturday, after evening church services, my husband and I open our home to friends— mostly unmarried ones.
Sometimes it’s four or five friends, sometimes one, sometimes it’s just my husband and me and our housemate, a 24-year-old intern at our church. Whatever the number, we gather around the table in the nook of our kitchen, light candles, listen to one another, pray, sometimes play a game, sometimes mourn with each other, and usually laugh.
…Nearly three years into our marriage, we are childless, and not by choice. Our inability to start a nuclear family has certainly fostered an urgency to create a broader family environment in our home, but our motivation goes much deeper. It’s based on the Christian call to provide a haven for those with whom we don’t share DNA.
…In his book Redeeming Singleness, Barry Danylak writes about Jesus’s poignant statement in Mark 3:34–35, that “whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” “Jesus’ point is dramatic,” says Danylak. “The relational bond of Jesus with his ministry family was stronger than that with his physical family.”
In Danylak’s interpretation, the family structure was principal in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, the church (both local and global) became principal. The whole of the New Testament is a drawing in, a reminder to the new followers of Jesus: You have a new family now. This is your mother. This is your father. Your brother. Your sister. Care for them as such.
Now, 2,000 years later, this language seems rote to us, but to new believers in the early church, it was radical language. This slave is my sister? This woman is my mother? This tax-collector is my brother? Yes.
Although the nuclear family was then and still is an essential part of a flourishing society, nonetheless, Christ calls us to expand our loyalties to the larger family of God and extend hospitality to those around us.
The need for this hospitality is everywhere, if only we’ll see and respond.
…Cristi Antholz—32, single, and director of family ministry for a church in Denver—has experienced similar healing when she’s been invited to family celebrations or dinners. She sees the power of the gospel reflected in those experiences. “The gospel is about King Jesus establishing the kingdom and making a new people,” says Antholz. “He brings orphans into his family and sets them at his father’s table. When families invite singles into their homes, during the holidays or other times, they powerfully reflect this dynamic of family in the gospel.”
The rest of the editorial is here (Christianity Today) site
(Link): The Neglected God Calls Us to Reach Out to the Neglected at Christmas: God with Us and Them—Immanuel (Re: People Who Are Alone At the Holidays)
(Link): Merry Christmas to Single People
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site