Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving After Action Report

Many of us struggle with families and the holidays.  Sometimes I imagine that others lead idyllic lives with no emotional baggage whatsoever.   Upon reflection, though, I'm not sure that any of us live in "this present darkness" totally unscathed.  We exist for the blink of an eye in a fallen world and sometimes our family relationships can demonstrate that.

The media and popular culture do not help us.  Sometimes the pressure of expectations makes us feel that unless we have a Thanksgiving which looks like a Norman Rockwell painting, we are missing out. 

Now I adore Norman Rockwell, especially a painting called Breaking Home Ties, which tells a story if you look at it closely. 

Many of our families, however, don't resemble that picture.  We are imperfect, we lose sight of priorities, and we make mistakes.
I started to fall victim to that pressure of expectation during this long weekend.  Bruce set up a get together with the male relatives to go shooting and forgot to tell me.   This part of my dear family has more money than I do.  Let's put it right out there.  I became nervous and (as a friend of mine delightfully refers to it) twisted.  Maybe my house or my cooking wasn't good enough.  It was good enough five minutes before I knew I had company coming, why wasn't it good enough five minutes later?

I had to mentally shake myself by the scruff of the neck.  We are called as Christians to practice hospitality.  That means making available what I have that God has blessed me with, not "putting on the dog" and showing off to others.  I relaxed.  I prayed.  I served the turkey soup that I'd made from the leftovers to rave reviews, along with a sliced meat platter for sandwiches, and some fruit salad.  They loved my house, particularly because it does look different from what you can buy in a furniture store.  My dear cousin, who is so family oriented, just wanted to take pictures, so she could unite her kitchen and porch into one room, as we have.

How much do we miss with mistaken priorities and expectations over the holidays?  We let the anxiety bubble up and say harsh things that we should not.  How much do we bend over or even break under the weight of the baggage that we insist on carrying when Jesus stretches out His arms and says, "Here, honey, take a load off.  Let me have it."  Well that's what He whispers to me. What He officially said was, "Come unto Me all ye that travail and are heavy laden and I will refresh you."

During the rest of this holiday season, I am going to relax in Him.  He has only called me to be me, Annie, not someone else.  Forgetting what lies behind, I will press on and consider my relatives as I consider my friends. They are not here to meet my needs.  They are people like me with their own worries who love me.  And I resolve to take them at that and leave the baggage in the arms of Jesus.

Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.  John 12:35

And yes, I do realize that there are two different times on the alarm clocks.  As Chicago asked, "Does anybody really know what time it is?" I like them that way.  Attribute that to my general sense of quirkiness.  The King James version of the Bible says we are a "peculiar people" and, trust me, I fit right in.