Our pastor has been preaching a series this month entitled “A Dysfunctional Family Christmas”. “If you have a crazy family member, raise your hand,” he instructed from the pulpit on Sunday. Looking around I noticed that most everyone raised their hand. Some people raised both. “Now for those of you that didn’t raise your hand,” he continued, “guess what? The crazy family member—it’s you!”
All of our families have issues. We can hide them, deny them or ignore them, but like the extra rolls of fat squashed in by our spandex and Spanx, at some point, our family issues are going to roll out and expose themselves.
The holidays seem to bring out the crazies. Christmas is a time when our hope for family peace is the strongest, but nothing draws the dross to the top faster than an entire family together in one room.
Nonetheless, if you’re like me, you still maintain Christmas card visions of family unity and peace around the holidays. My vision of a perfect family Christmas is everyone singing Christmas carols gathered around the baby grand. I can tell you, however, that has never happened. For one thing, most of our family can’t even hum on key, and the only keyboard we own is made by Dell.
The truth is, if we expect this Christmas to be picture perfect we’re headed for disappointment. Despite the craziness that comes when family members are strangled by darkness, there is hope. Even when they appear oblivious to sin’s grasp, the Bible says they can’t escape His spirit. Here’s what I read in Psalms today:
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there (Psalms 139:7-8).
I wonder if this scripture is where we get our saying, “You made your bed, now lie in it!” But isn’t God’s grace crazy? Even when we feel exasperated and feel like forsaking them, God won’t. When they make their bed in the depths of darkness, He is there! If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you (vs 11-12).
If you have family members oblivious to sin and walking in darkness, don’t lose heart! He loves those who linger in darkness. He loves those who are blind to the sins they embrace. God’s crazy grace hangs out with the drug addict and alcoholic. He hangs out with the adulterer and agnostic. He loves those embracing alternative lifestyles. He is even with them in their darkness, for the darkness is as light to Him!
He’s head-over-heels crazy about them even when they completely ignore His commands. He loves to hang out with them. He can’t get enough of them. In fact, He knows them so well that He knows what they’re going to say before they say it. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord (Psalm 139:4).
No matter how crazy our family members are, God’s grace is never-ending. God isn’t crazy, but His grace is! He loves us…the good, the bad and the ugly! So as you prepare to gather around your family this Christmas, ask Him for an extra helping of His grace. Do it now before you forget. His crazy grace will empower you ignore the imperfect, love the unlovable and reach the unreachable.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as we gather to celebrate your birth, help me to embrace your crazy grace. Empower me to love my family members where they are right now. Give me the grace to overlook the obvious, love the unlovable and accept the unacceptable. May I demonstrate Your grace to those who need it most. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.