by Deborah McCormick Maxey
“Green mashed potatoes. Really, Mom?”
For our son, growing up meant every St. Patrick’s Day was the same. Everything green. Inside and outside of our house and my office. I decorate with the fervor of a newly hired elementary school teacher. Never one to fear the label “tacky,” years later my grandchildren would get boxes filled with green bobble head headbands, green shoelaces, lucky leprechaun pins, four-leaf clover earrings… well, you get the picture. I figured I wasn’t overdoing it: after all, there are cities that dye their rivers green!
Why all the fuss? I want my family to be proud of their heritage. My paternal McCormick blood line is from Ireland. On St. Patty’s day we are authentic! But I love how inclusive the Irish can be. March 17th is the date that we are all Irish. Just put on a touch of green.
In the Old Testament, God wanted folks to have visible reminders too. He suggested tassels on their clothing attached with a blue cord. “That way, when you see the tassel, you’ll remember all the commands of the Lord and you’ll observe them. Then you won’t seek your own interests and desires that lead you to be unfaithful” (Numbers 15:39 ISV).
Although I love my ethnic heritage, far more important is my faith family clan. While I take down the Irish green after the 17th, testaments to our faith are present every day. The walls and shelves of our home hold memorabilia from our trip to the Holy Land. A shadow box with bejeweled, ornate crosses hangs over our mantle. “Christ is the head of this house,” is displayed in an antique arrangement of seeds and nuts that hung in my Grandmother McCormick’s house, and angel statues grace the garden. And that’s to name a few.
Within seconds of entering our home you “see” the reminders of our faith. And like the Irish, we want everyone to belong. Not for just one day a year, but for eternity.
Just as St. Patty’s day has traditions, so does our faith family. I’m not just talking about church holidays that show up on a calendar, or even daily devotions. We have an indwelling call to unite. We pray for strangers at the sound of a siren, uplift a “friend” on social media by assuring them we are praying for them, praise God for others’ accomplishments. We listen to worship music in our cars, wear clothing that proclaims a message, and oh, the amount of jewelry that bears that precious cross!
No matter how many versions of the Bible we read, what organized religion we follow, or types of faith-filled music that stirs us, we all have one thing in common: we are family, united by our shared Heavenly Father. We might call Him by different names: Jesus, Holy Spirit, Abba, Father, Lord, Jehovah, Adonai, or God. But we all call Him Father.
And He calls us His children. His Clan. For eternity, the greatest family of all.
And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18, NLT
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: A licensed therapist, Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christian fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.
Deborah’s debut novel, The Endling, is available for preorder on Amazon, due to release (by Firefly Southern Fiction/Iron Stream Media) on May 11, 2021. Native American Emerson Coffee is the last surviving member of her tribe. When US Marshals inform her she’s being hunted by a mob hit man, Emerson declines their offer of witness protection. But when three innocent children become caught in the crosshairs, Emerson must decide if she will risk it all—her mountains, her heritage . . . even her life—to secure their safety.
Join the conversation: How important is your eternal family to you?