December 29, 2023

Read Matthew 12:46-60.

Part of the Family

In today’s scripture, Jesus invites us to expand our idea of what it means to be family. While addressing a crowd, someone invites Jesus to give his attention to his family, who was waiting nearby. In response, Jesus questions the labels used to assign status or importance. Instead of redirecting his attention to his family (who should apparently have his undivided attention), he uplifts the importance of his siblings in the crowd. In this subtle subversion of power, Jesus affirms the dignity of all those gathered – not just the ones who share his bloodline. In doing so, Jesus highlights the ever-widening circle of God’s family.

Today more than ever, our world is divisive. We often allow politics and conflict to dictate who we consider to be friends and family. Yet as followers of Christ, we must consider everyone a part of the kingdom and kindom of God. Through his life and ministry, Jesus invites us to be vigilantly inclusive, in a world that attempts to exclude. So as we approach the new year, let’s keep awake and look for God’s family in our midst. May we have the courage to lengthen the table, pull up extra chairs, and love and listen to every person. After all, each of us is a beloved member of God’s family.


Loving God, you’ve created each one of us to be members of your family. As we venture into 2024, broaden our understanding of what it means to be family. May we engage everyone in your holy family with the same love and compassion that you do. In the name of the newborn Christ we pray, amen.

Nell Herring

Mission Specialist for Volunteer Ministries, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Alum, UKirk Furman