I enjoy homeyness. Warm wood fires, the smell of coffee perking and being in the house with people I love. I savour family and food and times together. I delight in quiet times of reflection, a good book, and stimulating conversation. Simple pleasures.
As I write now, I smell roasting vegetables in the oven. There's carrot, potatoe, parsnip, zuchini, red and green pepper, red onion, and whole mushrooms, tossed with garlic, fresh rosemary and oregano and some olive oil. Soon we'll taste the melding flavours of roasted fall veggies along with some steak that is grilling on the barbecue. Hannah will likely suggest candles because she likes the romantic atmosphere like her mother. Probably Jason will groan and Josh will complain because they'd rather have light. The diversity of individuals within a family are expressed in so many ways.
Now, classical piano favourites are playing on the computer, Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Lizst. In the background I hear the sounds of laughter and the air hockey puck ricocheting off the sides of the game as children play downstairs. The older ones finished their hot chocolate and popcorn after coming in from skating with their dad.
The rain falls cold and damp on this late autumn day and yet inside all is cozy and homey.
Sounds idyllic, doesn't it. And it is...it is.
Earlier I yelled to my nine year old, "You're not wearing that shirt to church." One of my daughters scrambled to find dress shoes and blamed another for losing them. Children needed too many reminders to pick up clothes and reminders to speak kind words. I had to preach the same sermon to myself. There were mad dashes to the kitchen cabinets to have the first choice of mugs and yet the winner served his sister willingly.
We are a real family, made up of real people. We jostle one another, chirp and yelp. We are a bruised people, learning to extend grace and live in peace. We choose to love. Minute by minute we choose. Sometimes we don't choose wisely and well. Like the apostle Paul we struggle with sin, each of us from the parent to the child. Like Paul we cry,
"For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing that I hate...So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;...For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil I do not wish...Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:15,17-19, 24-25 NASV
We are a sin-based people. Only in His righteousness, by His grace can we find His way in this world. Love is messy. It hurts at times. Peace wilts quickly in this family of sinners. Yet in humility we try again, we forgive generously, we are grateful for what we have, and we learn to serve.
In the chaos and the mess we find joy. I am happy in the little things, ordinary things. Little boys' hugs, the silky soft of preschool heads, kind words between siblings, air hockey, a lunch table of silly laughter, an offering of dandelions, a good book, roasting veggies, and homey, cozy things on a rainy autumn afternoon.
I ask God for His grace, for His fruit to be born in my life, in your life. And I pray for my children, myself, for my family, for yours, for the christian church. I ask God for Paul's words to the Ephesians for us.
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32 NASV