Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Protecting the Holidays

Ellen:  Clark, I think it'd be best if everyone went home... before things get worse.
Clark: WORSE? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We're at the threshold of hell.

Every holiday season, Rich and I try to watch the ever-so-hilarious movie...National Lampoon Christmas Vacation.  (The edited version, of course.  We tried once to rent the movie and watch it.  We didn't realize just how much language was cut out for the TV version.  Wow!  So we're very glad to have DVR this year.)  We love this movie, as millions of other Americans do.  Why?  Why do we find it so funny?  Well, it's because the truth is what makes a joke or movie funny.  We can relate to the "hell" that is portrayed in this movie.  Many of us have elderly people in our families that speak their minds, have habits and functions that are less-than-pleasant.  Then there's "that" uncle or aunt that is just so very different from the family core and usually brings excitement (and often division) to the scene.  And who can forget the teenagers that spend their entire holiday trying to escape the visiting family.  This is the one time of year you will find them united in their efforts to escape even if it means that brother and sister must cooperative with one another.  Oh but wait, there's more...the in-laws.  How great is it to deal with the sarcastic, know-it-all father-in-law and the controlling mother-in-law?

All of this for the sake of getting a check mark on the "Family Duties" checklist of life. 

We may walk away feeling robbed, abused and pure-dee mad.  The days leading up to the "joyous celebration" are filled with unpleasant planning conversations, late night discussions with the spouse about what happened last time and how things are shaping up to be just as miserable, the dredging up of old memories and fights that have caused a root of bitterness to set up in us, feelings of dread and even anger and the overall attempt for many in the room to ignore the fact that if everyone was honest they would admit that they would rather be getting a root canal.  In essences, NO ONE IS HAVING A GOOD TIME!

The joy gets sucked out of the holiday.  Our children are robbed of creating wonderful holiday memories.  We allow the curse of bad holidays to continue.  We spend the next few days repenting for our thoughts, words, feeling and actions.  We forget that Christ should be in the middle of each holiday.  Maybe we don't forget that He's the reason, but we sure do wonder when He's going to show up!  Am I speaking to anyone?  (All three of you, that is.)

How do we protect our holidays?  How do we break this cycle, tradition...curse?  "Curse" may seem like a strong word, but that's exactly what it is.  Words have been spoken countless times by us and other family members that have cursed our family holiday gatherings.  If the above even partly describes your family gathering (and it's been that way since you can remember) then your family is operating in a curse.  Some can remember a time when family gatherings were good but then something happened that changed everything.  Now what ever happened stands in the way of you all enjoying one another.  If it isn't resolved soon, it will become a curse that is passed down to your children.  They will then exercise this same "tradition" with their children.  If the curse is going to be broken, we can't wait for someone else to do it.  We must be "that person" that puts their spiritual foot down and says "NO MORE".  We must start with repenting for our words and attitudes (maybe even actions).  We have to then verbally break any curses we see.  We have to take back the ground that satan has stolen from our families.  Then we have to walk in the belief that the others will soon follow.  If they don't, then we must decide that "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  Even when that means being the only ones in the room that make an effort to change the "climate".

Breaking the curse isn't easy.  I should know, I've been trying for years.  I type this today feeling defeated over a holiday season that hasn't even started yet.  I attempt to tackle each year with hope, joy and belief that this year is going to be different.  Only to have resistance come from areas that should be marching forward with me, not against me.  We have tried to change things in our family.  Many of them were big epic failures.  The enemy made his way in and robbed us each time.  Sometimes we recovered well, got up and started over again.  Other times, we joined in the enemies plan and came out swinging only to "tear down our house with our own hands".  What it is going to take is biting our tongues (a lot), holding our tempers, being servants to others and being the one that brings the fun back to the holidays.  WE are the ones that must protect the holidays.  We must take this battle on, otherwise all will be lost. 

As parents, we are responsible for our children.  What kind of holiday memories are we creating for them?  I will tell you that as their protector, it is mine and Rich's responsibility to protect them...even from their own family at times.  We do believe that there is a line where grace and understanding stops and protecting the child by removing them from the situation begins.   Short of them being in harms way or experiencing damaging words, sights or actions, we want them to understand that family is important.  We are often tempted to say, "Fine, we just won't go this year."  (Maybe that's the correct decision for your family situation.)  But we do not want them growing up not understanding the importance of loving people regardless of that person's weaknesses.  "The world knows how to love the lovable...there is no medal for doing that..."  We don't want them to run from difficult relationships (unless they're in danger, of course).  With all of that said, we also strive to protect their holiday memories by insuring that they have plenty of good memories that stem from our immediate family traditions.  Traditions that we will carry on with our grandchildren.  One day, the curses of ole will be nothing more than life lessons that cause us to continue to protect the holidays.

May we all walk in holiday victory this year!

No comments:

Post a Comment