Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas with The Prickly People

Read Mathew 1:18-25

"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."' Mathew 1:19-20

And you thought Christmas with your family was stressful! How do you think the First Family's holidays went?

I was was just reading a few posts and remarks on some social media sites from people about how relieved they were to get home, and how terribly some were treated at Christmas by their family. It's sad, isn't it? However, I think every family has a little crazy in it. At least, I've not met one that didn't. It may have been well hidden, but eventually, it came out into the light. 

Can you imagine the pressure on Joseph and Mary? They were engaged, and being pregnant out of wedlock back then was punishable by STONING! This wasn't some grace-filled incident where everyone congratulated them on the new life Mary was carrying, and they all sort of went along with it. The Bible doesn't go into detail, but we do know the times and the customs. It just wasn't done.

What do you think family gatherings were like for them as Mary began to show? I bet she sat alone in a corner shunned by onlookers, or she remained in the kitchen out of sight. She probably overheard others whispering about her, although my guess is they weren't trying to keep it quiet. Keep in mind Mary was just a teenager, as well. Do you remember YOUR teenage years, ladies? How crushing!

Now that your family gathering is over and you feel as though you can breathe, please let me remind you, there will be a next year if you live long enough. (You're welcome!) How will you face your prickly people then? Will it be with the same dread and anxiety or will YOU be different?

I know how difficult it can be to be around some family members - the constant nagging and complaining, the belittling that can occur or the flat out ugliness you may have to endure. You simply can't change people. You can only change how you respond and how it affects you. There my friend, is where true victory lies - not in winning arguments.

I imagine Mary was different in the midst of all this. I mean after all, she was chosen by God to carry his Son, the Savior of the world. I bet she was made of tougher stuff. I bet she was also very gracious and forgiving to a fault. She probably chose to see the best in others, seeing past their brokenness.

Again, I can't prove any of this, but I'm just guessing that for her to be chosen as the mother of Jesus, she had a little more umph in her.

What's in you? You've got almost 362 days to find out before the next family Christmas, maybe less if your family lives closer. Stop dreading being with them and what they will say or do to make you feel uncomfortable. Who will you be in a year? Determine to be more like the you God created you to be - full of grace, forgiving to a fault and more sure of who you are in Christ, than you are today. Call forth your umph!

I bet you'll find your visit a little less anxious and your spirit a lot less movable when you're with your prickly people.