Monday, October 12, 2009

Home Coming

"Then all the people left, each for his own home, and David returned home to bless his family." I Chronicles 16:43

In the 1970's the show "The Waltons" was part of my weekly line-up of T.V. shows. It was an endearing story of a large, extended family and their West Virginia mountain community set in the late 1920's and early 1930's. Every week my mother and I would watch this together. I guess for my mother it was a trip down memory lane but, for me it was a celebration of family!

The joy of watching "The Waltons" wasn't always the drama of solving a problem but it was the ending. Every week before the swell of the theme song and the scrolling of credits, the camera focused on the Waltons' moonlit homestead. Then, one-by-one each family member would say goodnight to each other, like they were reading Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown! "Goodnight Mary Ellen, Goodnight Erin, Goodnight Jason, Goodnight Jim Bob, Goodnight John Boy, Goodnight Grandma, Goodnight Grandpa..."And so it went until either Mama or Daddy lovingly hushed their ramblings with their own "Goodnight!" No matter how difficult the problem they faced each day, the Waltons' always ended their day together and at peace.

King David gave us a great example of this too. In 1 Chronicles we're told David spent days maybe even weeks of planning the return of the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David. He sent word out for all of Israel to gather in the city. He delegated responsibilities to the priests and musicians. Finally, the parade of worshipers began and David joined them in song and dance. He worshiped the Lord with sacrifices and prayer. He fed the people and blessed them. Finally, when the celebration was over, King David gave his last orders to the priests and made sure everything was in order for Israel to worship God properly, according to the Law of Moses. Then, after everyone had returned to their own home, David returned to his home and...collapsed from exhaustion...grumbled on his way in the door...demanded dinner right away...asked to be left alone...shut himself in his room and didn't come out for an hour...NO! The Bible says, "David returned home to bless his family!" What did THAT look like?

How many of us can say that after a day of work, let alone weeks of work, we feel like coming home and blessing our families? It's so much easier to unload the daily frustrations on them than it is to unselfishly put aside our own concerns to bless them. It sounds so counter cultural to even think this way that it's hard to imagine what a homecoming of blessing would look like. But, let's imagine it for just a minute.

As you enter your home, you take a deep breath and greet your family with a warm smile. You wrap your arms around your spouse, who's making dinner and tell them you've missed them. Your spouse returns the embrace and says, "I missed you, too." You then give a warm "hello" to your kids, ask how their day was at school and listen to their answers. There's a give and take of responsibilities after dinner and you finally wind down with your spouse for a few stolen hours together after the kids have settled into bed. You both share the frustrations of your daily grind and encourage each other to be the best you can be.

Does this sound too good to be true? Maybe it does for some of us. Is it attainable? I believe it is if we employ David's example to "return home to bless (our) his family!" Although our technology and family structures may have changed a great deal since the time of King David or even the era of "The Waltons," I do believe we all still have the need to gather in our homes and end our day in peace. The secret is to put others needs before our own and serve them rather than be served. The funny thing is, when they're needs are met, they WANT to meet our needs as well!

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