"Let Them Go"
Recently my daughter, Ivey, posted on FaceBook a picture of an article on my cocktail table entitled, "Boundaries for the Holidays....3 ways to enjoy the holidays and keep your family from driving you crazy." Her post said, "Found this on my parents coffee table...thanks? 🤔 can I borrow it when you’re done?" Many commented on it and most people wanted to read it. A few texted because they wanted to read it. Last night at a Christmas party the cocktail napkins read, ""I'll be home for Christmas and in therapy by New Year's!"
Prior to this I had heard another take on, "Oh, the weather outside is frightful" This one said, "Oh, the relatives here are frightening!" Another song I thought of is, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....Let them go, let them go, let them go!" We laugh at these things but we know there is some truth to some of it. Most people are tired from Christmas and still have a week of "togetherness" with family.
We find ourselves excited about Christmas and having everyone home. I read an article about what really goes on at Christmas and I made a few adjustments. If we had snow this is what I would picture: Fresh fallen snow glistening outside with a nice crackling fire inside. Giggles, gifts and everyone glowing! But that is not reality. We will not have snow! The glowing will be from my hot flash! Reality is we have full-blown explosions in our living rooms. Tears are flowing. People are not speaking. And this breaks our heart! This is far from what we wanted. We find ourselves trying not to anticipate too much!
Perfect holidays are only in the movies. Maybe we need to lessen our expectations. Expecting the "perfect holiday" creates stress for all. When everyone is used to living on their own and then all come together it is a large dose of family at once. There is no down time and you are always with other people. Some people feel like they cannot get away from people. Everyone has to show a lot of patience!
Most people are exhausted by the time Christmas gets here so they are not on their best behavior and may be a little "testy." Then you get a large group of different people together. You have the criticizer, the cheerleader, the slacker, the complainer, the exaggerator, the grinch, the wreck, the martyr, the passive-aggressor, the victim, the bully, the drama queen or king, the drinker or the emotional wreck. And if you are like me you are naming names as you read. All of these in one house for an extended time? We better get to praying! For all of us!
We probably get along better with our friends than some of our family and that is understandable since we choose our friends. Usually, our friends complement our life! Our family is our family, and they may not complement us! What would God tell us to do at this time? He would want us to be the bigger person. Proverbs 17: 14, "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." We cannot change how others act but we can control how we react. There is usually a reason someone is defensive or bossy. Proverbs 13: 10, "Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." Maybe it is time to finally forgive that relative. Forgiveness can be the best gift you give this holiday! Ephesians 4: 32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." The same grace we expect from others is what we need to show them. 1 Peter 3: 9, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."
Wouldn't it be sad if we did not get together over the holidays with our family? There are a lot of lonely people in this world. While we are unwrapping gifts around the tree someone is dumpster diving for food. Someone is feeding their addiction. Someone is missing their loved one. Someone is too mad and bitter to come around. There, but for the grace of God, we are celebrating Christ's birth with our family surrounded by our many, many blessings!
It's time to get on our knees and give thanks for God's grace and abundance. Let's keep the focus on Him. Let's pray specifically for our homes to be a drama free zone for this little bit of time. Let's pray that we repay evil with blessings, that we are kind, compassionate and forgiving. Pray that we show grace and love to others. Pray for those suffering this Christmas. Let's thank God for our wonderful family!