A Less Than Perfect Christmas
Most families fall short of the ideal family - if there is such a thing - and the holidays can be very stressful when old wounds (and new ones) can't be laid aside. My family is no different.
We were close once, at least I thought so. However, recent events indicate I wore rose colored glasses and didn't see the truth - until now. My own pain has opened my eyes and I can now recognize, and empathize, with other families coping with dysfunction and the holidays. I don't have any solutions or any suggestions on how to fix what is broken. But, God offered me His opinion on the matter.
While praying over my family situation, this scripture came to mind: "Do not think that I came to send peace upon the earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10: 34-37.
Not easy words to hear, especially this time of year. The passage continues with verse 38, one of the hardest for me: "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." It breaks my heart to have to choose.
I am not alone. This goes on in many families, for many reasons, not just faith. And what about the peace God offered at Christ's birth? Not peace on earth, but peace to men of goodwill. Not peace to all men, but men of goodwill. Not outward peace, but inner peace, peace of heart knowing I am in God's presence, right now, right here regardless of the outward turmoil of my life. When I am right with God, my world is right.
Some question how do you know there is a God in the first place. I am lucky, blessed and fortunate. I've personally seen Jesus in a vision. He not only told me how much He loved me, He held me in a tight embrace. It was up close and very personal.
And so, family dynamics will stop the flow of Christmas tradition, but it can't stop the flow of God's love and compassion. In a recent vision Jesus appeared next to me in church. He told me not to worry about whether the church was perfect or not. He was personally inviting me to the service and He would sit with me. And, He did. I saw him next to me during the entire service. He even put His arm around me and held me.
There is where I find my peace, the peace the world cannot give. And this peace will carry me through the family heartaches, fear and concern for all of the issues our country and world face, as well as my own personal nightmares. Nestled in His arms I can face anything, even a less than perfect family Christmas.