It's been a while and as always, there is much to thank God for but today (tonight) I am going to take this opportunity to thank God for...
'What? Who? Huh?' I hear you say. They are not a kind of Morris-dance or a fish with big eyes, they are actually my family! My Mum's maiden name is actually Figgess and her family are all pretty legendary. And today, very excitingly, the youngest and last Figgess has come to stay, my cousin Kate. When we were younger we used to visit each other several times a year but since we all started leaving home and growing up it's been much less frequent, in fact she said it was 8 years since she'd crossed the border into beautiful Wales.
Figgesses and family in general are just brilliant, because there is so much shared; in blood and experience and relations, and it has been so fun and so funny to reminisce over various anecdotes and memories. Things that you couldn't understand the full hilarity of unless you knew and loved the people in question as family, like (in a Yorkshire accent), 'Bethan, you can't use that, that's my Dad's flannel!' More than that, there is genuine interest in how you are doing now and what your hopes for the future are, regardless of how long it's been since you've caught up. So thank God very much for Figgesses, we're well enjoying having Kate here so far.
I also can't help but think, as I reflect on family, how marvellous it is that in God's great masterplan for his people, he didn't create a society or a club or a profession, but a family. A people where everyone is accepted as a brother or sister and united by a completely loving Father, each with a unique role to play, but loved regardless of what they do. The best thing is that it is a totally elastic family, and there is always space for one more. Jesus promised, 'My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.' (John 14:2-3) How I look forward to being there with all my brothers and sisters.
Thank God for family.