Not sure what your Christmas time with family will look like this year, but undoubtedly yours will be pretty similar to mine: the reading of Luke 2, so as to redirect our hearts and focus on the true meaning of Christmas, the opening of countless gifts, possibly the singing of songs, and of course the fat-free, calorie-free meal of turkey, mashed potatoes (with some heavy whipping cream – oh yes) and gravy, stuffing, etc., etc. But one facet of Christmas time with my family (and probably yours too) that seems to always be present is conflict – can I get an “amen!” Most of the members of my immediate and extended family have strong, type-a personalities (that’s what you get when you mix several pastors, a doctor, a former military-man, and a successful businessman) and when we all get together there is inevitably a little bit of tension and sometimes a little conflict. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I truly do look forward to spending time with them (I had to say that since some of my family may be reading this post at some time in the future – kidding…?), but we always seems to get in our little squabbles or disagreements and you know what?…it’s ok – that’s part of being in a family. However, that being said, I read a post recently that share some basic things we can do to dispense grace to the members of our family when those times of conflict and tension arise.
Here is the first paragraph of the post, which I believe will cause you to want to read the post in its entirety.
“Christmas is coming and that means family get-togethers. But these celebrations are not always a picture postcard of family bliss. For some, these gatherings are dreaded and avoided when possible. Why is that? Why is it so hard to get along with the people you grew up with? Is there any hope that old, hurtful patterns can be changed? In this booklet, Tim Lane writes about these challenges and how through your relationship with Christ you can learn how to love your family and reach out to them in concrete and practical ways.”