Eighteen Days Until Christmas

Our Father gave His Son, Christ gave His Life, what gifts will we give?

Family.  Live joyfully with the wife (or husband) whom thou lovest all the days which He hast given thee under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 9:9

I imagine that before the earth was quite ready when we lived as spirit children with our Father, God gathered us together and explained why he was sending us down here to live.  He must have told us that there were many lessons he wanted us to learn, things he wanted us to master.  But he did not want us to do these things alone.  In His great wisdom He organized families as the very best method for learning the lessons that would allow us to grow and to return to Him. (Remember the Cherokee boys rite of passage? While the boy sat alone in the dark, his father was near by.)

What are the lesson we learn as we commit our lives to one another, raise children and try to teach them the things that are important in life? As Winston Churchill noted, “There is not doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society are created, strengthened and maintained.”

What are the important virtues? Love, kindness, patience, humility, sympathy, optimism for starters.  Learning to discern good from evil, rejoicing in the truth.  Faith and hope, belief in things to come, belief in the ability to change, to forgive, to repent.  Endurance, service. All these things are best learned together, supported and strengthened by one another.

Children born into families have an immediate advantage of love and support from parents. I don’t have a story today.  But in my books Family is always one of the major themes.  In Shaman Priest, Maria orphaned at eight years old looks back to her parent’s examples as a guide in the very difficult choices she has to make.  Gene Smith, born and raised in a large, happy family does the same.

In Down the Colorado, Kiko Perez tells his children stories about his father growing up in Empalme, Mexico, working to help support his mother until his father, working in the Bracero Program can send for the family.  Kiko’s father is an example to him of how to live well in difficult circumstances.

In the sequel to Down the Colorado,  Sparrow Hawk, nearly ready for release, we learn  about Maggie’s family when Maggie and Kiko invite her hyperactive mother to come stay with them.

Not all families are perfect, Martin’ Martinez’s certainly isn’t.  But he determined to make the family he always wanted when he married Carmen. In Sparrow Hawk, Martin tells Gabir Kamali that he–Martin– is a living example of the American Dream, and it’s true, not because of how he was born and raised, but  because of the choices he makes in his life.  (You can find my books on Amazon, author Karen Hopkins.)

That’s another thing God told us we would have down here–the ability to choose–like it or not! And God knew what He was doing.  I’m sure he told us what a blessing families would be.  If only we could remember.  We do know Heavenly Father is a parent.  What better example is there?

Families.  A gift from heaven.

Merry Christmas.

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About Karen Hopkins

Karen Hopkins (1949-) was born in Los Angeles and raised in Martinez, California. At seventeen she moved to Talcahuano, Chile. After completing her university degree she worked in London, England for Pan American Airlines and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and India. For twenty-six years Karen taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in a variety of settings including a private school in Panama, the "most remote school in the United States" in Ticaboo, Utah, the Navajo Reservation, and a teacher exchange in Hermosillo, Mexico. Karen and her husband traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America, spending many summers in the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala . Karen currently lives in Southern Arizona, near the Mexican border.
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