If I say Paris, what do you think of? The Eiffel Tower? If I say New York, then what do you picture in your mind? The Statue of Liberty with Manhattan in the background? If I mention Chicago, what do you imagine? In most cases, you probably imagined a landmark or the downtown skyline of each place. To heart of each city is often captured by an image of its skyline. To those who have actually visited those places, a picture of that place evokes all the feelings, sights and sounds that are associated with it.
What do you think of when you think of Tokyo? For me, I often think of Rainbow Bridge spanning the bay at night, or Tokyo Tower rising up in the middle of the urban sprawl or towering Skytree with Mt Fuji in the background. But at the very heart of the city, hidden in a protected garden, is the Imperial Palace of the Emperor of Japan. Perhaps nowhere else in Japan captures the essence of Japan quite like this unique area in downtown Tokyo. The modern skyline is abruptly halted by an ancient castle. This is where old and new meet. A nod to the past with an eye on the future. This is at the heart of Tokyo.
But what truly defines a society is not its’ buildings, skylines or cities. Modern cities do their best to support business, government, education, entertainment, housing and more. But all of these things support the people that live in the city, because a city it ultimately defined by its people. Without people, a city would be nothing.
Just as downtown Tokyo is at the heart of the city, family is at the heart of society. Where there are strong families, there are strong societies. We celebrate our kids’ birthdays because each and every one of them is special.
No matter your background, birth order, ability, gender, race or age, you’re special. No matter what school you went to or what job you hold, you’re one-of-a-kind. No matter what others say about you or what you’ve accomplished, you are special to God. He made you in His image and he delights in you just as a parent delights in their children.
To know God is to know His love for you, and that love permeates his design for the family. He has a purpose for the family — that it be a place of nurture, care and love where each and every person can discover and pursue the purpose for which God made them.