You say you’re nervous to face your family this Thanksgiving? You’re hoping just this once you get through the holiday without a bruised ego?
Look to the saints! The great prophets of yore!
Their likely response?
“Don’t count on it.”
They might say something like, “Be afraid.”
Family dinners were rough back then. Just ask Esau how he enjoyed Jacob’s bowl of stew.
But isn’t it written that God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind?
To which you respond – He’s never sat through glory days stories with my “Faaaaabulouuuus” sister and her proud parents who stick mediocre me next to great Aunt Hildegard who hates yams.
My friend called me once in the middle of her holiday with family. Before I could say anything she whispered, "It's my brother-in-law Sam. They're not jokes. Coming out of his mouth is laughter, but they're not jokes."
I couldn't understand her verbal short-hand. "What's happening?" I asked.
"Somebody's about to be on the news. That's what's happening." Then she hung up.
Some of us can relate.
What I don’t understand are those people who rave about their holiday get-togethers. Who began the fable-telling of perfect family camaraderie around a roaring fire with the people we’ve teased and stereotyped and shoved and punched our whole life?
We could start with Jesus.
Jesus spoke kindly of His ancestors like Jonah and Solomon and David, when in fact Jonah was ungracious, Solomon lived with a forbidden concubine and King David unattractively made for a really, really, really bad dad to his sons, one of whom tried to kill David and overtake his throne.
Ah but that Jesus. He’s a loyal one. You might get a tough-guy vibe from Him as He castigates the religious right. But when He mentions His family, He presents Jonah as prophetic and Solomon as wise and David as an honorable patriarch.
Well…that’s not exactly representing what went down with His family, one might say.
Well…that’s not the way I see it, Jesus might say.
He knew their journeys. Not pretty.
And they knew His God. Not negotiable.
That’s a family trait to brag on. Cling to. The rest is secondary.
Therefore, be encouraged. So what if you’re not the shiny penny that the family around the table expects you to be! There is a Father and a Son who would like to give you top billing nonetheless for all the ways you have tackled one thing or another, nose to the grindstone, for the sake of pleasing to the One who made you.
And if that fails to help your mood, stare hard at your water glass and pray for an inebriating – I mean inspiring - miracle. Jesus has been known to deliver on that one before.