This time of year is always filled, or fraught, with all things friends and family.
It can be filled….
with gatherings, and fajitas, and gourmet cheese balls, and aunt Ruth’s chocolate silk pie.
It can be filled with loud laughter, and reminiscing, and catching up, and embracing necks that you don’t see often but wish you did.
It can be filled with memories of road trips, and gifts given, and tradition.
But it can also be fraught…
with hams that burn around the rim, and scorched queso, and the company gift of frozen fruit cake.
It can be fraught with misunderstandings, long-time shoulder chips, grievances, and loss.
It can be fraught with nightmares of holiday past, anxiety over interactions, uncomfortable encounters, and disappointments.
Even though we all know that Jesus’ coming is the foundation of this whole holiday thing, the goings-on of Christmas can bring a myriad of feelings and experiences that can’t be denied or skirted.
So many pasts. So many wounds. So many expectations. So many raisings. So many opinions. So many bents. They all come to the surface around this time of year.
And it can be tricky. And fantastic. And maybe a mix of these.
So here’s the thing we must remember about people:
There’s always a reason for the way they respond to life.
People process encounters and experiences with tinges and influences from what and who has filled their lives prior. Throw personalities and make-ups into the mix – and you get a wild web of reflexes.
There are reasons for people’s reactions. Whether pain from the past, encounters that you don’t know about, sufferings, education, transitions, experiences, etc – there is always an explanation for the condition of people.
If we keep this in mind, perhaps grace will be easier to offer this go around.
Deciding to maturely go a little deeper, gain perspective, and look past people’s words and knee-jerks…. this will actually bring you healing and golden knowledge, and it just may in turn bring healing to them too.
I have splendid family and friends, that love me well and often times offer me this post’s point. But I’m not just speaking from my own experience with this, I speak from the stories, and prayer requests, and testimonies of those I do life with everyday, too. It’s a universal issue.
As we head into this week of celebrations, understanding that Christ came to love and save all…let us remember that the highs and hits that people have experienced, are tinting the way they live today.
And this should make that grace thing sound really good to all of us.
I’ll close with this…
Dr. Clyde Narramore, (quoted by RT Kendall in his book Finding Your Hearts Desire), said that…
“All behavior is caused. Every person is worth understanding.”
Good word. One that we should carry and implement this year.
Warm embraces to all of you!