Like it or not, its that time of year for family gatherings.
I’m blessed in that I love to get together with my extended family. We usually have a great time talking, eating and drinking, playing games, watching ballgames, etc.
But I know this is not true for everyone. I have had many ‘Christmas’ conversations with friends these past few days. Some of them are excited to see family, while others are not looking forward to it at all. A few will be with a new family for the first time, and yet others are not allowed to see family for one reason or another. One friend is excited to be spending her first Christmas with her fiancé. Another friend is recently separated, after years of marriage, and is struggling to deal with loneliness during the holidays.
Maybe you’re just the average American family with the typical blend of anticipation and dread heading into the coming Christmas break. I bet you can relate to that line in Its beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, where the songwriter slipped in And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again. Ha! They’re ready for Christmas break to be over before it even starts. Relatable!
Maybe your Christmas is going to be a Rockwell/Kinkade painting. Maybe it’ll look more like the Ramones’ We’re a Happy Family. Whichever it is, hang in there. It’ll be ok.
But, have you ever thought about what it might be like to a member of Jesus’ family? What would it be like to be related to the Son of God? It couldn’t have been easy.
On the surface, it might seem like a pretty cool thing. But when I read the Bible I see a slightly different picture. Several of Jesus family members are mentioned and it appears to be a difficult thing to be related to Jesus.
Think about everything that Mary and Joseph went through. Accusations. Questions. Uncertainties. Fears. Misgivings. Heartache. Mary and Jesus’ brothers thought that He had lost His mind. Then they had to watch Him die what seemed to be an innocent death. Then there is the cousin, John the Baptist, who had to deal with all kind of stuff in fulfilling his ministry as Jesus’ forerunner. From what we can tell from the Bible, they all became believers in Jesus. But it couldn’t have been easy being in Jesus’ family, at least in the short term.
I think the same is true of us as Christians. We are in Jesus’ family. We have become joint-heirs with Christ and each other. But it’s not necessarily easy, for the time being. It can be downright hard. We have to deal with ourselves, as individuals. We have to deal with each other, as a family. We have to deal with people from outside the family, trying to use us. We have to deal with people who would do us harm.
Of course, these are all things that Jesus said we would have to deal with. He told us that we would be persecuted for believing in Him. The enemy, wolves, and agitators are enough to deal with themselves. But then we have to learn how to love and forgive one another, as we are learning how to become One Life together.
I have Good News. One Day we will be a Family with none of the stuff that can make it difficult to be a family. But while we wait, hang in there. It’ll be ok. And for the time being, let this Christmas be a time where we give extra effort to being a Christian Christmas Family: The Good, The Bad, & The Sufferable.