Candles burning low,
Lots of mistletoe,
Lots of snow and ice everywhere we go,
Choirs singing carols right outside my door–
All these things and more, that’s what Christmas mean to me.
Christmas traditions vary. Candles, mistletoe, caroling—maybe one or more of these tell you the season is here. For others it’s the tree, the shopping, the eggnog. But no matter the tradition, most would agree, Christmas would not be Christmas without the ones we love.
As much as we may have lost sight of what the true meaning of Christmas is, we haven’t lost that need for family during the holidays. After all, Christmas is all about celebrating the addition to Mary and Joseph’s family: Jesus. The first appearance of Christ is with his parents. The manger scene is just the background to a family portrait. And Christmas still beckons family togetherness today.
For many, that family togetherness could result in reminders of past quarrels and hurt. Divorce, disagreements, grudges—all of these can come along with family into your home and soil a white Christmas. So what do we do when he have a house full of beautifully wrapped gifts and unwanted houseguests? We close our eyes and remember the cross. We remember what this season is all about: remembering Christ’s birth. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Remembering that Christmas marks when the Word became flesh allows the family issues and problems to pale in their importance. And John 1:14 doesn’t just say the Word became flesh. Period. It says the Word came full of grace and truth. Grace and truth—two words we can strive to define our response to family this Christmas: We responded with grace and we spoke nothing but the truth of Christ.
When grace and truth define our conversations with family over the holiday, we truly celebrate the birth of Christ. We also learn to love our family not in spite of who they are or how they are acting, but because of Jesus and what his presence on earth meant for us. Loving family in the light of Christ, allows us to love them more than we ever could through gritted teeth.
So this Christmas, as the aunts, uncles, step-parents and grandparents walk through your door complaining and dropping coats wherever they well please, take a deep breath. Remember, the Word that became flesh to dwell among us still does. And he still brings grace, and he still brings truth.