All of our four children, their wives and seven grandchildren all somehow packed themselves around our dining room table. There were 21 of us all told, including some friends as well as family.
It seems like we think a lot about family at holiday times like this. At some of our tables this year there were a few missing. It happens every year. And we say with Job of old, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
In our family, it seems as though we have grown more than declined in number. The Koedykers from our branch of this family with Dutch roots was down to one person — my dad. Then my brother and I came along; and following that, we added four more boys to keep the family name going. Now my sons have had four more boys!
Of course, whether they are boys or girls really doesn’t matter. They are all a blessing! And I truly mean that.
How many more little Koedykers will be coming along to populate God’s green earth is hard to say. Our third son just got married, so there may be more on the way.
One thing in regard to all of this is the fact that time marches on. I thought of that as I looked around our Thanksgiving table to see four adult children, all in their 30s.
Our third son, who lives in Las Vegas (the one who just got married), wanted to look at some of the old family videos. It was fun to see our kids playing soccer, performing in the band and opening Christmas presents. They were little and cute and precious, that’s for sure. I am not one who tears up easily, but I had to fight them back the other night. Every once in a while, Marilyn and I showed up in the videos, and we looked so young!
Some of the videos even had my mom and dad in them. It was kind of eerie hearing their voices again. But it was good, too.
Someone once said, “Time flies, but memories last forever.” It surely does go past quickly. And, thankfully, we have things like photos and home movies to help us remember. When I watched those home videos the other night, some of them almost felt unknown to me. Did I really do that? Some things I remembered vaguely. I guess by the time you are in your 60s, there is a lot to remember.
I am glad to say that it has been good so far. Not perfect, mind you! I’ve had my ups and downs, my disappointments and sadness. We all have. And yet, I can heartily say that life is good.
Why is life good? Well, I’d have to say that life is good because God is good. Time marches on, but God is faithful. That means that life has a purpose and meaning. We are not just some biological accident, but persons created in the image of God.
How thankful I am for a heritage of faith. How thankful I am that before I knew the alphabet my mother had taught me about Jesus and his love. I hope you, my reader, know the God of the Bible. Knowing Him makes all the difference in a person’s life. It means you can have hope, not despair. It means you can have someone to believe in and trust, a God who truly cares about you and loves you.
Love in the family is wonderful, but love from the God of the universe is beyond wonderful. It is marvelous and it lasts forever. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced a small taste of that, and for it, I will always be grateful.
I hope you, too, know this marvelous and good God. As next week we enter into the season of Advent leading to Christmas, we will see even more clearly and fully the kind of God the Lord is — one who sends His very own Son to be our Savior from sin and death. That’s why Christmas songs are so full of joy!
I for one am looking forward to celebrating once again the coming of Jesus Christ into the world.
— The Rev. John Koedyker is pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven.