Location: New England, United States

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Holidays!

The holidays - meant to be joyous - are frequently a time of stress, struggle and depression for many people. For more than a month, we are expected to spend time with our families and the phrase - "you can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family" rings in our ears.

We kick-off the season spending time with our families on Thanksgiving. Then the entire month of December our families are ever present on our minds as we struggle to find the perfect gift for Mom, Dad and that sister or brother you never quite understood. Old wounds are once again stirred, coming to surface in the form of resentment or even all out war. Christmas looms with dread as we anticipate the careless words and hurt feelings.

God watches all of this. In some way, I believe that this "joyous season" was actually laid before us as a once a year opportunity to make peace with those created to be closest to us.

Let me share a scenario:
You have two children - a son seven years old and a daughter five. Your son is using the television to play a video game, but it is time for the Barbie Princess cartoon and your daughter wants to watch. She declares to your son that she wants to watch the cartoon and he refuses to release the TV to her. She grabs the controller out of his hand, and your son grabs it back. She turns off the television and he pulls her hair. You can hear her screams coming from the family room and you run from the kitchen. Your quick assessment determines that they are both fighting - what do you do?

You punish them both. At any point in this struggle, your son or your daughter could have come to you to mediate. Instead, they choose to handle the disagreement themselves with force and strife, and now both children are hurt and resentful.

It is the same when we argue and struggle with our families. When a disagreement arises, God expects us to come to him with the problem so he can mediate. If we choose to handle the disagreement ourselves, it will esculate into strife, hurt feelings and long remembered words. But, if we go to God with the problem, he will mediate the disagreement, averting resentment, strife and pain.

Remember, God placed you in this particular family for a reason, and I am sure it was not just for your brother's growth; but for your own as well.


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