Of all of the things that Family Home Evening is good for (i.e. togetherness, building memories, having fun, teaching, solving problems, creating family bonds) I am gaining an understanding that the most important reason for family home evening is that, as a family, we experience the spirit together.
Last night's FHE was a beautiful example of this.
First let me back up to earlier in the day.
As a Mama, I take my role of "Lioness at the Gate" quite seriously. I don't like to let unvirtuous influences invade the peace of my home.
So you can imagine how perturbed I was early in the day when I sat down with my kids to watch a show that came highly recommended to me, only to be caught completely off-guard by a brazenly smutty interaction between two characters in the show. And I mean, completely caught off guard. Boy was this Mama lion roaring. (Internally, of course.)
It wouldn't be until much later in the day, during FHE, that I would recognize the role that the Spirit played in somehow making sure that my children decided to run off and play just moments before the offending scene flashed onto the screen.
I immediately turned off the show. I felt spiritually drained by this unexpected attack on my quiet day at home with the children.
We left the house seeking more wholesome adventures together and were justly rewarded for our efforts. We played on a playground for four hours, made friends, and had a wonderful day.
Then on the way home, we followed through with part A of FHE which was to visit some residents at an assisted living community near our home. We had spent a great deal of time there last Christmas season, and I was pleased to see that some of the residents remembered us.
While we were there, we listened to a Russian church's children's choir that was performing, (coincidentally, we knew many members of the choir!) It was very sweet. They sang Christmas carols in both English and Russian (Yes, it's MLK, Jr. Day today, but whatever!) Most of them knew only as many English words as made up the lyrics for Silent Night. When they sang, I could really feel the Spirit returning to my heart.
When we finally returned home, Steve was back from work. We ate dinner and commenced with part B of FHE, which was for Steve to give each of us a Father's blessing for the new year. Steve explained or rather reminded us that because he holds the priesthood, he holds the power to give us special blessings, admonishments, and words of comfort as he places his hands on our heads and receives promptings and words from the Holy Spirit.
Before he started we sang, I Am a Child of God. Then I prayed. Then Steve asked us to pay special attention to see if we can tell when the spirit enters the room.
I felt it. And I think that the children did too.
As Steve pronounced blessings upon each of us, naming our specific needs, and assuring us of God's love for each one of us individually, we felt a spirit of peace rest upon our family as a whole.
The feeling was in complete contrast to the evil spirit that had invaded our home earlier. That spirit made me angry and upset, and left me feeling violated and helpless and frustrated.
The feeling that entered our home while we prayed and sang and were blessed together during family home evening, caused us to feel calm and whole and empowered and loved and unified and strong.
I am so thankful for the priesthood, for a husband who is able to bless our family, and for a home where the Spirit can dwell. And I am thankful for opportunities to learn about the Spirit and to help my children understand how to recognize and appreciate the power and the influence of the Holy Ghost.
PS - Check out another great FHE Chronicle at That Good Part.