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photo credit: MoToMo via photopin cc

photo credit: MoToMo via photopin cc

We are having a delightful time of relative relaxation. I didn’t realize how soul weary I was until I got here. The time away has been great for me and my family. It hasn’t been so great for the blog.

But the blog sits here with a plethora of Christmas articles under the tag “Christmas” so if you really want to read any one of them, they are there for the browsing!

Meanwhile, I am getting replenished with time with another part of our family, the chance to think and feel…and even rest! Yes, it has been busy. But nothing that is happening is anything I am responsible for. So I just live in my little cloud, help where I can, hug on grands, laugh at their antics and enjoy the sun when it does come out!

During the holidays, the movie and advertising pictures of family getting together happily and lovingly doesn’t always work out nearly so well in reality. Depending on the family and the amount of alcohol consumed, there are going to be outbursts that can be quite ugly.

More commonly, there are the jabs hidden under sarcasm or snide comments that are difficult to deal with openly because the person saying them usually says something like, “Don’t you know that I’m just kidding?” Then you have to come across as the “bad guy” if you want to pursue the issue.

So you feel awkward as you stand figuratively bleeding from stabs that can’t be dealt with. What to do? It makes you want to never be around that person again! (more below**)

What we’ll be doing

We will have a 90 year old great grandmother (Mimi), two sets of grandparents (Nene and Tata, yes, that’s me), an uncle and his daughter and two sets of children (Saran & Bryan, Bryan & Christy) and their families that stairstep in age from 11 down to 5. If you catch them at the right time of year, they are a year apart in age…but obviously right now is not that time of year!

Our only family members are our daughter and son-in-law and three granddaughters. However, we have been here long enough that we almost feel part of the family!

Family traditions are alive and well!

One tradition maintained by Mimi is a Norwegian food. It is Risengrot. As described in the link, it has a nut hidden in the rice and whoever finds the nut gets a small gift. In our case, there are 7 nuts placed in the bowls of each child, hidden in the rice…and a small gift for each one! This branch of the family tree is very Scandinavian. One side is more Swedish and the other is more Norwegian.

Our side of the family is 1/2 Nowegian on Ron’s side and 1/4 Swedish on my side. ¬†Basically this set of grands have a high concentration of Scandinavian blood! That is certainly good for determination, orderliness, industriousness to name a few…blonde and blue-eyed-ness as well! They hit two out of three on that one!

The downsides? Stubbornness, occasional tendencies toward OCD, and tendencies toward workaholism…oh well. We all have our difficulties don’t we? It seems that the positives bring their downsides, don’t they?

Learning to depend on Jesus…even for our strengths

So once again, we are forced to lean on Jesus for grace in our weakness…when our strengths overcome us…when they get out of control…when they go wild! We have Jesus to forgive us, to humble us, to help us, to rein us in, to help us notice that there are others around who are different, with needs that are different from ours. And we learn to grow up. To put some of our needs aside and love them in ways that actually communicate love.

**So, in this season when we are often with family members that we aren’t always around, who can push buttons in us that we aren’t used to having pushed, we can remember that we have the freedom to love them in ways we never have before!

Instead of reacting to comments or actions like we have in the past, we can be proactive in the way we ask questions of them first before reacting to what we think they mean.

Often we find that they aren’t coming from the perspective we thought they were. And if they turn out to have been coming from that gloomy place? We learn to start the process of forgiving…just as Christ forgave us!

Learning to forgive!

No, I didn’t say it is easy or instant. But by the grace of GOD, the process starts and He gives us the grace to forgive when we are hurt by another person’s words or actions. He gives us grace to not return to that place of pain, but remember how much He has forgiven us.

He gives us grace to forgive and not hold a grudge and nurse the hurts we receive from that other person or group of people. Is it easy? Not if we have truly been hurt. But it is good and right.

Most of all, it is good for us. We don’t sit and stew in our misery and resentment! We don’t become embittered. That is good for us and those who must live around us. In order for us to age gracefully, we need GOD’s grace to live that way.

And that’s why Jesus came.

Let’s celebrate this time of year when He came so we could be forgiven…and learn to forgive!