As Christmas came and went this year, I thought about a lot of stories that I do not think about every day.
Of course there is the remembering of the stories concerning the birth of Jesus. When we think of those stories, we remember the angel coming to Joseph and to Mary telling them that they are to have a child. And of course we remember the story of the birth of Jesus, and even the story of the Kings, or Wise Men, who came to see Jesus bearing gifts.
We are told that Mary kept all these stories and pondered them in her heart. They became a part of who she was, a part of who their family became.
I have four grandchildren who live in North Dakota. Each one of them has some story about their birth, or their baptism, that has become part of the memories of our family. When my oldest daughter was pregnant with her first, they moved from Texas to Minnesota. The baby was almost born on the way.
Her second was routine, but not the day of his baptism. We were all gathered for the baptism. My youngest daughter was 6 months pregnant. The night before the baptism, she went into labor. The result was a third grandson, born 3 months early and weighing 2 pounds.
He has survived and is doing well now. His birth changed a lot of how our family looks at things. Time together and the joy of living are more important now.
When the fourth of these grandsons was born, it was a -10 degree December day, and windy. We will all remember the cold of that week.
And my daughters will probably always remember how I almost missed his baptism, simply because I had not changed my watched from Mountain Time to Central Time.
Sometimes churches or schools or organizations have common memories also. I know of high schools that date many things from a time when they were in the state tournament in basketball.
I remember a small country church that would talk about their history and remember the couple of Sundays that they called off worship because of the skunks that moved into the crawl space under the church.
Sometimes we date things by weather events. In New Orleans, many things are dated as before or after Hurricane Katrina. In Grand Forks, North Dakota, many things are dated as before or after the flooding they had in 1997.
Lots of things happen that become stories that help form who we are.
Stories like that have become part of our identity as a family. They become like common memories, shared memories by all of us.
That is also what happens to the stories from the Bible that we read and reread over the years, those stories become part of our story as part of the family of God.
Every day we form new stories that become part of us. Sometimes they are pretty normal and not remarkable at all. Sometimes they are stories that define us and our families for years to come.
May the stories of your faith and family be with you always. And may you for new stories, new memories, as you continue on your journed through life as a part of the family of God.