You’ve put the turkey in the fridge to thaw and you are checking your list to make sure you’ve bought all the supplies you need for your famous dressing.
Family will be here soon.
There are some people who are excited about long get-togethers over holidays: they take photos, they enjoy each other’s company, they have normal conversations about life and plan vacations together.
But for 98% of the rest of the world (OK, my facts might be a little skewed) holiday get-togethers are an anxiety attack waiting to happen.
It can be stressful to muster the strength and patience to sit through a family meal for a couple of hours… long enough to make a plate, finish dessert, say a few farewells and high tail it out of there with the dust in your rear view mirror concealing the craziness you leave behind.
It can be stressful when Uncle Jimbo shows up three sheets into the wind, Grandma Mary is a little off her rocker, or a random person shows up and you have no idea who they are.
The question might always be: when do we eat?
When can we get this over with?
The thoughts whirl through your mind about escape plans as soon as you can finish shoveling down the grits, greens, pork and other fried things.
Perhaps you can go out the front door and all will be fine, maybe no one will miss you. But then the gang of smokers are out on the porch and you know they would spoil your retreat.
You can tell Mom you have something for her in the car and as both of you head out to get it, give her the said token of appreciation, and say, ”Oh, well, I guess we better hit the road.”
You’d make a clean getaway.
But the smell of food draws you back to reality as the tin foil is removed and stacked neatly so it can be reused after the meal. The spread is amazing and once you fix your plate, you start eyeing the seating arrangement.
Where is the safest seat?
You could sit close to the door but then you would face the cold from the smokers going in and out. If you sat at the table, you could be stuck next to the cousin who was up all night “fishing” and hasn’t bathed in five days. You could sit on the couch, so you leave your spouse to fend for themselves as you take the last by Grandpa who fell asleep two hours ago waiting on everyone to get there.
Halfway through the meal, someone says it. Whatever it is: politics, gossip or just an opinion that should have remained unsaid, it’s out there.
The quiet ones are fully aware of the awkwardness in the room. Your little brother’s girlfriend who was brought to meet the family is getting a good taste of the family craziness now. The loud ones decide to play along, stir things up and jump in on the banter and soon an all-out family feud is in session.
You look at your dad with pleading eyes for him to say or do something and he just laughs.
People storm out the front, letting the squeaky screen door slam behind them. The others remaining in the ring pat themselves on the back for winning the argument and shovel another deviled egg into their mouths.
Oh, the fun of family!
What kind of family is yours? Is it one that can’t wait to see one another or one that dreads the thought of the next holiday meal?
In Genesis, we read about Shem’s family. As we make our way through this genealogy, we see a familiar name; Abram and his wife Sarai. Of course, we know they will become Abraham and Sarah in the future. But here, they are with their family.
Family is incredibly important to Abram and Sarai. In their Bedouin society, it means protection, honor, financial help, food and working together to survive. Family was their world.
But God spoke to Abram and told him to do something almost unheard of in those days. In Genesis 12:1 God says to Abram, “Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
It is probably very hard for Abram to even consider leaving his family, let alone be commanded to.
Sarai is barren, according to the Scripture, which means she has never been pregnant. But God promises to bless Abram and his family if he leaves everything behind.
“I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran,” (Genesis 12:2-4).
Abram did not question God. He was seventy-five, and yet the Lord told him he would make a great nation out of him and his family. Abram didn’t ask how, since he had no children, but he believed in God’s promise and obeyed. So, he left his family to be in the will of God.
No matter the craziness that comes with holiday get-togethers, it’s still family. And family is there for you, always. Family loves you always and would give you the shirt off their back if they had been so inclined to wear it under their overalls to the dinner.
What if God asked you to give your family up? Not just the craziness that makes for funny stories, but your actual family.
Could you be obedient like Abram?
During the holiday seasons, cherish the time with our family. As they stuff their faces or talk about nonsense, remember, they’re still family. God loves them like He loves you.
Show them His love during Thanksgiving and Christmas and be truly thankful for what God has blessed you with.
Copyright © 2020 by Yalanda Merrell. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.