One of my former pastors used to preach the same sermon at the beginning of each Holiday season. He reminded everyone that Holidays for some were times of great stress because you have to be with family and you can't choose family.
I must admit I didn't always look forward to the many (many) years of Thanksgiving with my in-laws for they could be quite critical people. However, once I got there I often had a good time and I think Stephanie has very nice memories of Thanksgiving and Easter at Grandma and Grandpas house. I choose to forget the strained conversations and remember that which was happy.
My family could be really weird and loopy but they were a hugging, kissing, and lovin' kind of weird. I wasn't very close to them after I married. Partly because I lived away most years, a lot had to do with the age difference, and then again... different values. Most were party people with Jack Daniel's as a close friend.
As they grew older, most of them mellowed. A few came to know Christ as Saviour. I prayed for all. Some relationships changed completely. Bonnie's husband was a thorn in my flesh for most of my adult life. Illness and a new found faith changed him. We now count them as close friends as well as family. Never give up praying, for even that one who seems the most unlikely can change completely.
They're mostly gone now. I was born into a large family but very soon each married and started their own life. By the time I started school, none were around as much as they once had been. I miss them very much. I think back and realize the last time I saw each one, I didn't know it would be the last.
Bonnie is my only relative I see very often and since her husband has been ill and can't leave home easily, we don't get together often. We're in the process of working a time to see each other now.
My husband's brother called yesterday. Each December he picks up their sister and drives her back to the town where he lives for a week. He is divorced with no children, she never married. For his Christmas present to his siblings, he usually meets us at a very nice restaurant near the Interstate on their way going to or coming from their home town.
This year he has lost a lot of money in the stock market crash and asked if we'd mind meeting at someplace cheaper. I told him one of our very, very favorite places to go is Cracker Barrel for breakfast... at a fraction of the cost he'd pay for the other place. We're still working out the details on that.
So, for those who still have a lot of family around these Holidays... hug them... lots. I have advice on keeping those family celebrations calm.
Breath in. Breath out. Let it go... Decide ahead of time that there are roads you are not going down this year, regardless of conversations going on around you. Just let it go...
For love will always trump opinions and prayer will change their hearts.
Picture: Sharing Grandma's Cookies; allposters.com