Thursday, December 27, 2007


Some may question the wisdom of doing what I'm about to do. They may be right. It may be fool-hardy...even silly...but it is/will be the expression of my feelings and thoughts at the moment about the past three days and three nights the Burlesons have been together for Christmas 2007. Whether those feelings and thoughts ought to be made public, [other than to family] especially on a blog, is up for grabs. But..shoot..I'm not known for thoughtful and careful actions anyway. Mine are usually done and then I realize the magnitude of the error of my ways. So here goes. [Besides..anyone who has sat under my pulpit ministy knows I usually am guilty of TMI anyway.]

This was the BEST TIME THE BURLESONS have ever had at CHRISTMAS from my perspective...... A little background will help you see why I think so.

The Burlesons are made up of Mom and Dad, [Paul and Mary] four grown children, their spouses, their children, [17] their children's spouses and children. [4] So you can see the potential of a grand total of 31 counting the newest two little guys, less than a year old, being together.

We have only one planned time a year where we all attempt to be together in some fashion or other. It is an alternating of Christmas and Thanksgiving. We call it our noisy Christmas or Thanksgiving and our quiet Christmas or Thanksgiving. You figure out which is which. Use your imagination. This was our noisy Christmas. It lasted three days and three nights. [I reminded all that even the fish couldn't stomach Jonah any longer than that.]

Mary and I opted to build a 2000 sq. ft. home which would never hold the full complement of Burlesons at any one [Mary and I pay for it since it's a lot cheaper than building a 4000 sq. ft. house.] rent a GREAT facility out of town where all the couples have a private bedroom. The older kids share a room or two and the younger ones do too. In fact, any way you slice it, it's great since there is also a meeting/dining room about 75 ft. by 50 ft, a full kitchen, game room, piano, Christmas tree, dessert table, candy table, and WII. [That's not World War's the latest video game the likes of which you've perhaps never seen.] You name it, we had it because we brought it, as you can see.

But...why would I say this was the best time we have ever had from my perspective?

It wasn't because everyone is healthy though they are. It wasn't because all are on their journey of faith and growing in it though they are, [all who have entered into it as of now] It wasn't because all were there since a few were not. One grandchild and her new husband were on honeymoon in California and Wade and Rachelle had to miss a small portion on Christmas eve and Christmas day as he's stated in his blog. One or two others could not be there either and all were missed. And, remember, it wasn't short. :)

Then why would I say this was the best? What I want to do is be specific about what I believe has created this thing inside me that says this year's Christmas family time was..out of our 17 in a row at this facility..the very best we've had.

It has to do with baggage. Not the kind you carry into an airport on a trip. I'm speaking of the kind you carry into any relationship. The kind that must be worked through to have good relationships.. but is generally even denied as existing. It is the baggage that results from your family of origin and that you carry over into the new family unit you are now establishing which you will, unfortunately, pass along to your kids in the early stages of their growth. [It is this that must be faced later, for good relationships to happen but is usually denied as even existing unfortunately by many parents.] It is, in other words, your environment early on, personalities, hurts, failures as parents, as siblings, and the generally tuff stuff you have from being a fallen human being, albeit in the process of being redeemed ,and part of a family unit that is fallen and being redeemed also.

Because this is my blog and the other Burlesons have no say in what I write here...I am ONLY going to expose my baggage and how I've had to learn the process of working through it. It will, however, serve as an example. All the Burlesons have their baggage as all have so freely admitted in years past in our sessions together at our gatherings. That's what made this year the best. We joined each other in making that journey through the baggage. We reaped the harvest this year in such a vivid way it has caused these feelings/thoughts I have. I'm going to talk about it. Respect demands I use mine as the example. The other Burlesons could and, perhaps at their appropriate times, will speak of their own journey. You would be blessed out of your boots to hear what they have to say.

Whether anyone understands what I will be saying or not, I may never know. Whether some will think it is too personal, I'm sure they will. Whether it should be done in a public forum, especially the Internet, who knows?

But that it is [facing and working through personal baggage] the single biggest factor that has made this 2007 Christmas the best the Burlesons have ever had, from my perspective, is unquestioned.

So...I'm going to briefly, in the next couple of posts, share what all this looks like, costs, feels like and why many will perhaps never be willing to pay the price. I would understand what's behind such a decision and respect their choice. But I also want to expose the treasure that will never be enjoyed if it is not done.

Until the next post...Happy New Year. May it be, in the Providence of God, your best year ever.

Paul B.


Paul/Mary Burleson said...

Hey, Handsome,
I agree. You are brave, very brave. And thank you for respecting other family members by only sharing about you. Everyone's trust can remain intact.

I agree. It was our best family time together ever.

Looking forward to your sharing. No matter we've been a couple for 48 years plus, I still get excited when you share from the inside out.

Paul Burleson said...

MB, [Beautiful]

Thanks for voting for "brave". I'm not sure but that all the votes should be for "stupid" but we will see I guess.

Alycelee said...

I will stay tuned in to see.
I appreciate your openness to 'have one on you'
How much easier it would be to listen to our friends and families journeys and learn from that, rather than go 'around the mountain' one more time.
Happy New Year Mary & Paul.
Alyce & Mackey

Mike & Cherri said...


This is a post that I can comment about. :)

I have to say that this was the most awesome Christmas I have ever experienced...EVER!!!

Thank you, to you and Mary, for not only setting the tone, but setting the example, of what true parentship is. I pray that our kids, see in us, what i see in you and Mary. You two are the best!!!

Can't wait to read your words and hear your heart.

As i will always say to you....Preach on brother!!!


Paul Burleson said...


Happy New Year to you and Mackey as well. You guys have become two of my favorite friends and I've enjoyed my time with your two families. [Church and your own special one.]


Thanks for commenting. You will never know how often as I travel and teach on family life I use you and Tony [Sons-in-law] and Rachelle and Kelly [Daughters-in-law] as examples of how a family gains relationships when your kids marry..not lose them. But only those of us close know the full blessing you are to us all.

Bryan Riley said...

Paul, this is a fantastic post and so full of the the meaning of Christmas. I love the relationships represented here. I also love how you demonstrate how silly our culture is with money and material with your paragraph about the 4000 s.ft home. Thank you for sharing and I too look forward to more.

Kevin Bussey said...

Happy New Year Paul!

Paul Burleson said...


As always..I'm glad you stopped by. You and yours are part of our prayer times because of your missionary heart and life. Thanks.

Honestly..I hadn't thought of the idea of what my statement might reflect about our culture and of contrasting our not being as materialistic as it is. I wish I could take credit for that as my motive. As I remember it, it was done because a larger house built at that time.. seventeen years ago..would simply not have been prudent financially for the Burlesons.

We decided to do the retreat thing as our gift to the kids BECAUSE we of our choice to do the prudent thing. I guess you could say we made lemonaid out of a smaller house situation. :)

I do understand and agree with your idea however. Our culture tends to be materialistic doesn't it. Materialism is not to be the controling virtue of Kingdom kids at all.

Of course, you and I would agree.. I'm sure.. that someone with a lot of wealth can use it to build larger homes and honor God in the purpose and use of it as a tool for life and ministry. Some who build smaller homes can and should do the same.

As with most all's not the thing done.. but the purpose and heart in the doing of anything done. You can tell you spurred my thoughts in a fresh usual. Again..thanks. :)

Paul Burleson said...


Happy New Year to you guys too. I sure like what I'm hearing/reading from you. Keep it up.

Bryan Riley said...

Paul, you are right. I just know I often hear (including in my mind) justifications for things like gigantic homes based on a "need" for such things as every family member having a toilet. Your prudence, what I saw in between the lines of your post, was what I was admiring. And, when we listen to the Holy Spirit and ask God for guidance with all of our lives, especially our finances, our decisions will be well seasoned with prudence.

Paul Burleson said...


You are correct. Well put.