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Raging Relatives

Raging Relatives

Christmas is coming. Here we go!

I love Christmas, I’ve said it before. I will say it again. I really do love Christmas.

I adore the angelic children’s choruses (and even the not-so-cherubic ones), the caroling, the fresh-baked goodies, the social gatherings and even some of the holiday gift shopping. I look forward to reconnecting with long-lost friends and getting together with family members we don’t see often enough.

Oh, and then there are the ones we may feel like we see more than often enough, even if it’s only once or twice a year. They know who they are. Or maybe they don’t.

Every family has them, whether we admit it or not.

How many families squabble and spat at Christmastime?

How many more pretend to get along, even while tempers boil just beneath the surface over real or perceived grievances, unfortunate misunderstandings or long-borne grudges?

(Don’t even get me started about King Conflict or Princess Passive-Aggressive.)

Today, December 21st, marks an important day in Judeo-Christian history. According to the Jewish calendar, this is the date when Cain apparently murdered his brother Abel. This event, taking place in 3720 BC, may have been the first recorded instance of fratricide. And it was all based on a question of favoritism and a problem of pride.

Let’s hope Cain-and-Abel Day doesn’t set a precedent for family Christmas gatherings, even in spirit!

Like nations of old, families feed foolish feuds.

“Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?”
(Psalm 2:1, NKJV)

What causes the fiercest family fights?

Battles may begin with bad behavior, fighting words, competitions or other disagreements. Once conflicts arise, we may find it hard to find common ground with folks we may have to face for our entire lives.

At Christmas, who counts the present piles to make sure they’re even? Who critiques each gift? (Don’t answer that.)

Looking back at our less-than-easiest relationships, however, what can we learn? How might the Lord have used the most difficult people in our lives to shape our own character?

“As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.”
(Proverbs 27:17, NIRV)

Have you ever toured a foundry or forge? How about a blacksmith shop? What happens when hot iron bangs against hot iron? Sparks fly!

Got that right.

And now it’s Christmastime. Are those Christmas tree lights twinkling … or sparks flying?

Try as we may to ignore inconsistencies and overlook oppositions within our own families, these unaddressed relational rifts can make even the holiest holidays hard to face.

Will we continue to put the “funk” in “dysfunctional” this Christmas, or will we seek a solution?

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” ran a bit several years ago, titled “The Dysfunctional Family Christmas.” Does this ring true for anybody?
Maybe Christmas is not the right time to hash things out, hoping for harmony.

Still, if this high holiday celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace, we have to wonder about any hostility in our households, codependency in our clans and false friendliness in our families. What gift of reconciliation might we offer the Savior for His birthday this year?

Amid the hurry and flurry, I find myself scratching my own head and preaching to the mirror again. (I hate it when that happens!)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk
come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful
for building others up
according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.”
(Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

Color me convicted.

May God guard us, as we mark His Advent. May the Beloved cover our mouths, while shielding our hearts from family darts. May He hold us in His strong hands of love, as we celebrate Him this Christmas.
Angry Woman photo by Lara 604
Creative Commons Licensing
Cain and Abel
Public Domain 

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