What Is a Family?

I grew up in a culture and milieu where family had precedence over most other things. Many of my fondest memories are the times I spent with my family, which was an ever-expanding and dynamic entity. And now in my old age, I find my family even more precious and relish every moment I can with them. There have been several instances in the past when I turned my back to a job offer or a career, no matter how well paying or lucrative, for the sake of my family.

In recent years, I have seen changes in families and family life that have been unsettling and even disturbing. As recently as the 1960’s, anti-miscegenation laws were part of American law. Nowadays, there is more openness and diversity; and interracial marriages are common and accepted. ‘Two-race’ is now among the choices people can tick off to describe their racial stock. I find this a welcome development.

Family is often a mother, a father and their children. It is sad that many household in the US today are single person households. There are so many people living by themselves – with a pet or two. There are those who have made this as a lifestyle choice but I can imagine the loneliness there must be in some of those homes.

And now there are same-sex couples building up their homes and raising their own families. This trend has been redefining what constitutes a family and how a family should be defined. I have seen same-sex parents with wonderful families and I have no problem accepting them. But I am still trying to wrap my mind and my heart around the idea of same-sex marriage.

In the end, I guess the question is whether love is the moving force behind all these changes and developments. I have met people, living alone, who do great things for others either through their work or their social engagements. They show great love for others. Yet because of a variety of reasons, they have chosen to live alone. I have seen gay people living together as one great family, often with more palpable love than in the homes of hetero couples. They are happy homes, full of love.

A family is where love grows. And where people live together in love, there is a family. Family may primarily be determined by blood. But in the end, family is about the people we have chosen to love.

Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
~ Exodus 15:1
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Matthew 12:46-50
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