Being with family during the holidays can produce lots of different emotions.
If I was a pharmaceutical rep., I might write the symptoms like this: “Chronic fatigue, mild to extreme irritation or confusion? Common symptoms of family holiday disorder can surprise all of us during this happy time of year. Though little known yet widely common, FHD is rampant. Signs of FHD can emerge during holiday meals that include uncle george who makes slightly racist jokes, talking to angsty teen-age cousins who listen to their iPod non-stop with a look of boredom plastered to their faces, and observing siblings who cave to the demands their “energetic” child to buy them hotdogs on Christmas day instead of eating the meal mommy has spent preparing for a week.”
It’s stressful having family ask you questions you may not care to answer: “so, is there anyone special in your life?” “what do you think about gay marriage?”
Give you opinions about how to raise your kids: “when your cousin was this age he could write his own name and read. You should put your son in a more rigorous pre-school program.” “She isn’t potty trained yet??!!”
Make comments about your work, body, or lifestyle: “So, looks like you must be enjoying those pierogies in Cleveland!” “you’re looking too thin, you work too much. Get out and eat some pierogies with your friends.”
So what do you do? They’re the people God has given to you. In scripture there are all kinds of messed up families. Rape, incest, murder, preferential treatment of siblings and deceit are just some of the fun dynamics people in scripture dealt with when they gathered round the table for some roasted lamb. Every time I’m with my family I’m both thankful for who they are and how God has used them in my life, but also stressed out at times because of the eccentricities, differences of opinion and ways I’m still learning how to relate to my parents and siblings as an adult.
If I’ve learned anything about a prescription for FHD in life and from scripture it would be this:
“Cures for FHD can include forgiveness, patience, prayer, long-walks by yourself to cool down, friends to empathize with and learning to accept who your family is for good and for bad.” God can heal families, a broken family like David’s, a broken family like mine and a broken family like yours.