Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Lessons

Jesus really spoke to my heart this year, especially this Christmas. I really wasn't prepared for a Jesus Intervention, but as many know, Jesus gets you when you least expect it and when you most need it.

So, I have been thinking of writing this for about a week or so. I held off because I wanted to see what else I would have to write about, as well as, how I would write it. I also had a couple people ask about the blog post and feel more compelled than ever to write it.

Let me start with the fact that I have a dysfunctional family. I don't write that to hurt anyones feelings or hurt anyone. It is the truth. I have a very fractured family because of the dysfunction and it isn't any one persons fault. Saying this reminds me that all families have some degree of dysfunction. This is a symptom of the fall of man and sin. Those the reason Jesus was born and the reason we celebrate Christmas. He enters the world broken by sin and dysfunction. His intervention is timely this year considering the time and season. I don't write this for sympathy but for the glory that is Jesus.

To understand the story one needs a brief glimpse of the dysfunction. All the various sides of my family have had to deal with addictions, drugs, violence, death and separation. Again, it isn't the fault of any person in any part of the family. It was our reality. These issues took what was a seemingly close knit family and sent them in their various directions. As time passed by, I was left with less family. For the past decade I thought I only really had one part of the family left, my mother. We had our own issues. Again, not her fault or mine. Just the symptom of the fall. So, in my heart, I believed that I would be left with no family as I got older. It really broke my heart.

Over time, some family reached out to each other, usually at funerals. Then we would quickly say our good byes, we need to keep in touch, and then get in our cars and drive back in the direction we came from. Some family members even called, left numbers and tried.

However, even though family reached out, I was afraid. I didn't know what they wanted. I didn't know what I had to give. I remembered the things the adult members of my family would say about the others in the family. Most of the time it wasn't very nice. I heard this a lot as a child. It left me tainted. I saw my family through very distorted glasses. I wish and pray I could erase the words and images that are planted in my brain about my family. Those images are there and I have to deal with them.

So, what was the intervention? The intervention was seeing my family this year at Christmas in my home. The things I saw and observed brought joy to my heart and deep sadness. I saw an uncle who I thought was the tough old man turn into a soft concerned parent. I saw a cousin who I really hadn't spoken to for more than an hour over the last decade in my home with his children and wife.We spent several hours talking and enjoying each other again. We were like brothers once. Again, joy filled my heart and yet there was sadness for all the lost years. Finally, I caught up with my nephew who I hadn't seen for about 20 years. Spent hours just hanging and enjoying each other's company. again, joy filled my heart and sadness. Sadness of the time lost.

The revelation. Jesus' time on Earth was marked by meeting people where they were. Most of them broken by many of our standards. He loved them, he lifted them up and he forgave them. Something we have a difficult time doing with people and our family. I remember those conversations about how this person did this and that person did that. I could tell you a lot of stories and I am sure you could share some too. However, is that what we should be doing. Should we be tearing people down in front of our children or should we be building each other up? I look to what did Jesus do? He built them up, he grew them, and if they stumbled forgave them again and continued to love them.

As parents we are given an awesome responsibility. We are charged with growing our children in Jesus and growing His church. How can we do that if we are tearing people down in front of our children. Our tongue is a wicked thing. We can build nations with it or tear them down. I choose building a nation. I choose building the family that Jesus has given me and building the bridges that are there.

My prayer after you read this is to not feel sorry for me, that isn't the point, but to think before you speak. I pray that when we speak we think and act as if Jesus was right next to us. Ask our selves What Did Jesus Do! He gives us so many examples. I pray that we walk in such a way that we wan't our children to. We mold the future. Build, don't tear down. The world is broken enough.