If I could tell you how to make it through another dreadful Christmas with your humiliating Uncle Harry or your annoying Aunt Martha, would you listen?
You may have someone like this at your gathering.
Conniving Connie lives to plot your ruin. She finds her happiness by investing on your unhappiness. She elevates herself by stepping on you.
Then there’s Disruptive Danny. He’s the class clown who finds his joy in throwing the teacher off course. He wants to be on center stage. If you’re not paying attention to him, he’ll turn up the volume to eleven. He also thinks its funny to pull pranks on you. If you’re not the victim, you’ll be enlisted to victimize someone else who obviously deserves it.
Last but not least is Lying Lenny. He will look you in the eye, smile with the charm of Santa Claus, and shovel a load of bull into your ears. Of course, it will feel like cotton until you see that it really is wad of porcupine quills.
Some of us are lucky enough to make it through the holidays with perfect relatives everywhere we turn. Others of us aren’t so fortunate. If you are one of the latter pestered people, here’s hope.
First, remember who Christmas is all about. It’s not the not-so-welcome guest that spoils your gathering. It’s Jesus.
Jesus knows what it’s like to deal with jerks. He died so that jerks like us would have hope. That means that every episode where we have been a thorn in someone else’s side has been redeemed for all eternity.
So you’re free to give grace to someone else.
How do you do that?
First, be honest with your offender. Tell her your feelings about her behavior.
Second, be understanding. Every time someone is obnoxious it’s because they’re hurting. Remember that when you deal with them.
Third, respect him as someone created in Gods image, no matter how incredibly hard that might be. If you need a few minutes to clear your mind, take it. Better still, if you expect that someone will try to ruin your holiday, plan your response before you arrive.
Chances are, your obnoxious relative won’t expect this if you haven’t done it before. But if you want to see how amazing grace really is, try giving some away.
It might be the best gift you give this year.
How have you dealt with challenging family gatherings?