A much needed re-post:
I think most of us truly desire to have one big happy family, all gathered around the table, holding hands to say the blessing and then to fill our hearts with laughter and our bellies with good food. I think most of us have our own version of the Walton family dinner table in our minds…especially us moms!
But the truth is TV is not real and of all the families I know there is not a single one that has the ideal. They all have issues, if not within their own household with extended family. We all have gatherings we need to go to, “because we are family”, yet we dread it. We dread an obnoxious personality, a hostile worldview, bratty kids, lack of love…name your reason.
For those of us that long for peace and joy around our table holidays can have a way of bringing out a dark or mean side of us. We want everyone on the same page, not clones of us, but rather clones with a spirit of Christ. We desire to break bread together and to enjoy a feast with the focus being on Christ. Wouldn’t it be grand to have all of our children and their families…to have Grandma and Grandpa…to have great aunts and uncles gathered around the table feasting in peace and joy?
Sad thing is we live in a fallen world and as our culture declines from the traditional, Biblical family, peaceful and joyful gatherings around the table becomes less and less the ideal. Many young people don’t even know who the Waltons are and because families are so dysfunctional they take their cues from Hollywood, pop songs and peers as to what a family should look like, which in turn makes it harder and harder to attend family gatherings.
So here is what we can do to reclaim and rebuild society:
Moms, although your husband is the head of the house you are the one that determines the atmosphere.
- You can be angry because things are not as they should be, that people are not as they should be, or you can even slip off to your own self-pity party, but none of that will change a culture. The culture within your 4 walls is where you need to focus. Reforming a culture is a slow, tedious and painful process, but someone needs to do it! WE need to do it!!!
- You MUST work hard at building traditions, which in turn creates memories.
- You MUST work hard at having a joyful spirit. If you are complaining, nagging or stressing out you will do nothing but tear down your home and as soon as your kids can leave they will. Be careful about a critical attitude and words. It is a joyful and peaceful spirit that draws people…even your own children. Don’t let them grow up and tell their children how stressed out mom was at Christmas, and if you need to, fake it til you make it!
- You MUST work hard on their hearts! If you are focused on the details or materialism that won’t amount to a hill of beans and neglecting the fun, the simple and the quiet times that build relationships don’t be surprised if no one gathers around your table when you are old.
- You MUST weed out destructive activities. If there are parties and gathering obligations that bring nothing but an unholy strife and if it is causing division within your own family sometimes it is best to stay home and start building holy traditions. Matt 10
With that said, Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” There are times we need to endure some situations to be a good witness, but often that “witness” can happen at other times than just Thanksgiving and Christmas. And there is a difference in putting up with obnoxious people and people who are planting seeds to destruction in your young children.
Let this be a simpler Christmas, slow down, create memories with family traditions. Reclaim your family’s table.
- Be so very careful that you do not let your ideals ruin Christmas, but rather slowly work towards them. Change takes time.
- Be sure your ideals are reasonable, not only to you, but to your family.
For us, we have found that we experience the most peaceful, most joyful fellowship around the table with other Believers. It takes more than a name to make a family; it is the blood of Christ and the baptism of the Elect that truly binds hearts and builds families.
My deepest desire and ultimate ideal is to not only share in feasting around my table with the members of my household, but also that all of our members also share the bonds of Christ.