Archive for the ‘Celebrating Italian Culture’ Category

Another influence from my Italian up-bringing was a sense of commitment.  Someone said once, “You can always count on being an Italian’s friend for life because they don’t know any other way.”  Once someone is in our life, it’s hard to walk away. I was raised to be committed to someone, to be loyal, to understand that my name and my family’s name was represented by my actions.

For me that translates to steadfastness in my walk with the Lord.  I am His child, adopted in to His family, and I represent Him in all I do.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  I John 3:1

The desire to stay close to God, to behave as a loyal child of God,  is rooted in my strong sense of loyalty from my Italian heritage. God blessed that heritage to be used in my walk with Him and that is something to celebrate.

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Another influence of my Italian heritage is religion.  Most Italians have a strong sense of God as He is discussed openly and intertwined in many of the holidays and traditions and festivals.  We were taught a reverence for God and an understanding that church is what we did every Sunday, no excuse.  With that early knowledge of God and a reverence for Him in my life, it started me searching for a relationship with Him.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;  all who follow His precepts have good understanding.  To Him belongs eternal praise.”  Psalms 111:10

If you want to know how you can begin a personal relationship with God, go to the Begin A Relationship with God tab at the top of the page.

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Growing up in an Italian family, when we saw each other we would greet each other with a kiss.  For us this was second nature and greeting someone with an embrace was a sign of our affection.  That physical touch was an unspoken way of communicating our welcome and that we were glad they were with us.  I find that to this day I hug others to show them I am glad to see them.  Working with the youth in our church I try to make sure that each student feels like when they arrive we were waiting for them and now the party can start.  One student told me she looks forward to my hug all week and that she knows I care because of that hug.

Jesus Christ knew the power of reaching out and physically touching.  During His ministry on earth he reached out touched many as He ministered.

“While Jesus was in one of the towns,

a man came along who was covered with leprosy.

When he saw Jesus,

he fell with his face to the ground and begged him,

“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.

“I am willing ,” He said.  “Be clean!”

Luke 5:12,13

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Growing up in an Italian family meant I grew up being loud.  The activity in a family gathering was exciting for me.  Bold personalities, strong opinions, and debates breaking out were all normal occurrences.  Having an opinion was fine.  Discussing your opinion was encouraged.  Believing what you said and standing behind it was a must.  We knew that in life we could disagree and at the end of the day still love each other. Sometimes in those conversations, change would happen and compromise would occur.

The kind of openness I learned in my Italian family has helped me to better communicate truth, even in the times when the truth is not easy.  Ephesians 4:15 talks about “speaking the truth in love.”  And from Proverbs 15:23, “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply–and how good is a timely word!”

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One of the great perks of growing up in an Italian home is the food.  Most people know Italians love to eat, but there is more to it than that.  Italians love the fellowship and will spend hours enjoying each others company.  We want to really get to know you and for you to know us.

Did you know that most people’s favorite restaurant choice is Italian?  I find it is more than just the great food, it is the atmosphere.  It is the hospitality.  Italian restaurants try to create a welcoming feeling.  They want you to feel like you are in someone’s home, like you are with family.

That kind of hospitality that I learned growing up in an Italian home is encouraged throughout Scripture.  From the Shunamite woman (2 Kings 4:8-10) who provided meals and eventually a room for the prophet Elisha, to Jesus Christ Himself, we see that hospitality holds an important role in a person’s spiritual life.

“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat,

I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink,

I was a stranger and you invited Me in…

Whatever you did for one of the least

of these brothers of mine, 

you did for Me.”

Matthew 25:35 and 40

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