It’s that season again. The holidays crowded with family, friends, yummy food, laughter, fantastic conversation, Pinterest-styled homes, and the warm-fuzzies of loving relationships.
What about the grandkids who would rather spend their time engaging with their cell phones than with you?
Or your adult children who don’t want the Christmas story mentioned? (Santa, gifts, or turkey and pilgrims are OK, but not THE Christmas story?)
AND your free-loading brother who is still living off of mom and dad and thinks their casa is his casa … and he’s 50?
Did anyone mention that every time “Aunt Matilda” gets in the same room with her brother, “Bob,” WWIII threatens to ensue?
Or how your mother-in-law reminds everyone of how you can’t bake an apple pie if your life depended on it.
What about the inevitable awkward pause at dinner when a family member announces he/she:
(1) is getting a divorce so he/she can move to Bali with his/her hot 15-year-old companion
(2) is coming out of the closet but he/she’s not sure which closet yet
(3) needs cash because God told him/her to invest in a snowshoe shop in Florida. And he/she’s passing the hat for donations
Ahaaaa, yes. The holidays have arrived.
But sweetie, you’ve got this…
You aren’t your 16-year-old self anymore. You’re an adult who has weathered many storms.
You’re a Christian. And you know that people do people things when they are family AND stuffed with mashed potatoes, turkey, and pie.
You’ve lived with all this drama or tension before. It won’t catch you off-guard. You know how to tune into your own emotions and choose a healthy, emotional response to adverse situations.
You’re not about to take on someone else’s emotional baggage or problems. AND you refuse to get in the midst of an argument to be the problem solver.
Plus, you aren’t about to become the family communications system. You have enough to handle in your own life, so you decline to be the family secretary, answer machine, or message carrier.
You avoid being offended because you ignore anything that is aimed at you personally. You’re bigger than any offense. You have Jesus living in you, and He has really tough skin.
You don’t defend or explain. You know your truth, and if someone’s reality is different, you’re content to let God address that in His time and with His methods.
You look for the good to comment on because you know that God loves your family enough to die for them.
That doesn’t mean you don’t address the dysfunction. But when needed, you do it privately and with a massive dose of grace.
You also know that other people aren’t your responsibility. Your responsibility is to love. Even in the midst of those moments of crazy, awkward, holiday family dynamics.
And, finally, you’ve learned to be OK with your friends and family NOT being OK with each other or with you.
So… do holiday family dynamics have to be perfect?
Enjoy the holidays. They don’t have to be perfect.
Neither do you have to be perfect.
You just have to love.
Love doesn’t require perfection. Jesus shows us that, right? He loves us in the midst of our imperfections.
So be Jesus with skin on to your family and friends this holiday season. Love them, warts and all.
AND if you’re still worried about the crazy that happens when your family gets together, check out:
- When Holiday Expectations Disappoint
- 5 Ways to Avoid Holiday Expectations That Can Kill Your Joy
- Are Unmet Expectations Ruining Your Christmas?