Family - the word can bring about a sense of belonging, or a sense of dread. The word family can give you the warm fuzzies as you are whisked back into your past, remembering the good times you shared with those you love. The word family can also bring about a sense of fear, as the memories of darkness and dread overtake you.
One thing about the word family is true in either instance... you can't choose your family. At least that is how the saying goes. But you know what... as Christians we are taught something different... you can choose to become a member of God's family... and as a part of that family, you receive the gift of brothers and sisters who will share your ups and downs with you... and love you just because they are loved by Christ. Notice I didn't say because they love YOU, but because Christ loves THEM!
It is an amazing thing that happens when Christ resides within you. That love that he has for you just begins to seep into every part of your life. If you truly embrace his love, then it can't help but spill over into your day to day life. You will find that you truly have a love for your brothers and sisters that makes them family. You begin to share in their joys, to mourn their losses, to embrace their pain... and you begin to realize that no matter who your biological family might be, you have been blessed with the gift of a "church family" who has come to mean a great deal to you.
So, to my "church family" (and you know who you are!) I just want to say that I am so happy to have you as a part of our lives. You make my family complete... and it is a joy to have you as my brothers and sisters!