A Nut on Every Family Tree.

A large part of the joy of Christmas is getting together with members of one’s extended family.  A large part of the stress of Christmas can be getting together with members of one’s extended family.  You know what I mean, everyone except Uncle Bud wants to order a cheese pizza.  He prefers anchovies.  No, not prefers, but demands anchovies.  Or Aunt Tildy’s insistence on opening the presents after breakfast on Christmas morning while the rest of the family would like to open them before they break their fast.  These nutty little power struggles seem to be a part of everyone’s Christmas gathering or family reunions.  As a wise man once said, “There is at least one nut on every family tree. If you can’t identify the nut, it may because you’re it!”

It’s difficult to ‘roll with the punches’ year after year, after year until learning to ‘choose one’s battles.  Is it important to win the argument over pizza toppings, or the opening of presents, or to enjoy the fleeting moments of memories shared? Later, when separated by distance and eternity these irritants become unimportant.  If making treasured memories is your goal, why allow a difficult relative’s demands to ‘ruffle your feathers’ as my Grandma Kuhesto used to say and destroy your holiday joy?

Paul’s advice in Ephesians 5:19 NIV seems applicable to any gathering of believers including relatives.  “Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”  This works even when you can’t burst into song midst an argument between Grandpa Georges’ right-wing politics and Cousin Sandy’s leftist leanings.  Midst the chaos and mayhem of the day, take a step back out of the picture and inhale the aroma of tomorrow’s most treasured recollections. And then, do as the Apostle Paul suggests, “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything–”  even anchovy pizza.


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