If our annual family reunion suddenly stopped now—for whatever reason—I wouldn’t know how to greet the New Year. All my life, I’ve said good-bye to the old year and welcomed the new one in a prayer circle with people who share my genes.
This photo of our 64th reunion, taken while the Beatles sang “When I’m sixty four,” shows not the real score. Half of our clan members live abroad. But those who attend year after year still command a respectable number as you can see.
This annual shindig begun in 1945.
In this first family reunion, my maternal grandparents decreed that their nine children should come home to the town of Umingan for a get-together at year’s end. In those days, and for years, my grandparents hosted these reunions. Before they went to glory, they left a piece of rice land— the harvest of which would be spent for this assembly.
But land reform and other complications sneaked in and soon, funding the now-too-expensive three-day reunion has been tough. But no problem has been too big to solve. Young ones and young once put it all together and get an all-time high before, during, and after this gathering.
This year's Chair was my cousin Minna who, although busy in New York, took the reunion's helm and ran it smoothly by remote control!
JR at age 17 wrote an essay about it and won a Palanca Award, first prize.
This event must be pretty special.
Well, family is more than special. It is a gift. It’s a precious present given to us by a gracious God so we may each learn to be a builder—of relationships and friendship. In the process, we share and pass on values that honor Him. John said in chapter 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
Can 400 people scattered all over the world love one another? Uh, we are all individuals with different quirks. And some are more loveable and loving than others. But our reunion is a yearly step to rise above those quirks and differences.
By worshiping together (this year, a copy of the service was sent to all those who are far away), we focus on the grace lavished on us by Him who made us who we are— diverse personalities belonging to one family.
That can only be the reason why, at 64, our clan reunion is still going, and going, and going.
(Below: the family branch where I belong. There are 11 of us here; 14 are in other continents.)