Hello! Today I am swapping blogs with Nicole Gusto, a fellow member of the Young Writer’s Workshop and the blogger at Stories Like Stars. This lovely post, “Five Ways to Love Our Families Better,” is by Nicole, and on Wednesday Nicole will post something I wrote on her blog.
Holidays with the Gusto Family
The December holidays are a big deal in the Philippines. The Christmas season usually starts as early as September! Now it’s been a couple of weeks since December ended, and we’ve entered into the new decade. But the past month brought me a lot of timely events and lessons that are still applicable in this season.
I’m an only child. I don’t have any siblings. I grew up in a family that is tight-knit. My 2019 ended with a lot of quality time with them.
My parents and I spent the Christmas morning opening gifts together. We also visited relatives, and relatives visited us. We feasted together over yummy food like adobo, bibingka, lumpia, and lechon; these were a regular in every family reunion. We also stayed up late on New Year’s Eve, celebrating together with a Filipino Media Noche. January came, and my parents and I travelled two hours by car to visit my Lolo’s (my grandfather’s) side of the family. And of course, there was more food to share with my aunts, cousins, and grandmother.
Oh yes, it was normal to ditch the diet at this time.
You can imagine that the holiday rush was real. But despite the tight schedules and activities, I found myself discovering nuggets of wisdom through the time I spent with my family.
1) Realize that Time is Limited
I realized that spending time with family is precious—because it is limited.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
I’m 25 now, and my parents are senior citizens. Somehow, seeing them age got me thinking a lot about how my time with them on earth isn’t forever. Yes, we still have eternity in the next life through Christ; but our present days are temporary.
As time passes—as it speeds into eternity—we’re given these moments to treasure the people we have.
It’s a blessing to cherish loved ones in every waking moment, in every new day, while we still can. Someday, all we’ll have on earth are iconic memories of loved ones who have passed on from this life.
There isn’t enough time to hold grudges and offenses. If we lived in view of eternity, and if we’ve come to terms with our own mortality, we’d probably regret less as we love our family better from this perspective.
2) Cherish the Little Things
My Lolo passed away a decade ago. I imagined what it would’ve been like if he was still there to celebrate the holidays with us.
When I was a kid, he would collect barya or change throughout the year. He’d keep the little coins and cents in a piggy bank. Then all of us, ang mga apo, or grandchildren, would gather around him in excitement. He’d toss all the coins over us like they were manna falling from heaven. I remember holding up the hem of my shirt to catch my Lolo’s monetary donation. It was so hilarious for the adults. We’d embrace our Lolo and kiss him on the cheek afterwards.
Back then, routine holiday traditions like that seemed small. But now, I realized that those moments were always the most significant ones.
Now that I’m older, I find myself imprinting into memory all the good, small, things I can cherish about my family—like how my dad still offers to pick me up from work. Or how my mom still asks me, “How was your day?” I smile over all these small, routine moments. Because someday, I might just miss them.
For now, thanking God for all of these little blessings is something worth doing. All of these gifts are from Him first.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
3) Honor Your Parents
I’ve been blessed with a family who knows Christ. My grandparents were the first Christians in their generation. I’ve seen the fruits of their obedience to God; it has blessed my generation too.
But not every family is the same. Every family has its own imperfections. Some families have it harder over brokenness and internal struggles.
But even though some families and parents are imperfect, as children, we are still called to honor them.
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:2)
Honoring our parents have nothing to do with their performance as parents. We honor them not because of what they do—but because of their God-given position. It’s inherent in who they are.
However, honoring parents doesn’t always mean agreeing with them on certain things. Ultimately, our obedience is to God, not to imperfect parents who might be on the wrong. But even though we may not agree with them on specific matters, we can still honor them.
To honor someone is to hold that person in high esteem. It means speaking to them and interacting with them with deep respect. We honor them, not because of what they’ve done—but because of our obedience to God.
4) Write a Eulogy or a Tribute
One concrete application we can do to honor our parents is to give them a eulogy or a tribute. A eulogy isn’t only applicable in funeral services. Actually, they’re much better given while the person is still alive and can appreciate it!
On a parent’s birthday—or in whatever event to your liking—take the time to write down what you appreciate about the person and speak it over them.
I’m pretty sure that loved one will be smiling from ear to ear as you release blessing upon their life.
While we still have the opportunity do so, we can bless our parents this way.
5) Pray For Our Families
As the holidays ended, and as we said our goodbyes to our loved ones, I realized how beautiful it would be to spend eternity with all of them in the next life.
Unfortunately, some families might still struggle with unbelief. Others might not be living in light of eternity yet.
And I suppose this is where praying for our families is truly crucial. We have accountability before God to share Jesus with them.
I may already have a lot of ministries in church, but my first mission field, my top priority in “ministry”, is to my family.
As 2020 unfolds before us, let’s do our part in loving, honoring, cherishing, and praying for the people closest to us.
What do you think?
How did you like Nicole’s post? What are ways you love your family?
Nicole also published an article by me on her blog: