The holidays bring laughter, full bellies, praise, and for some of us- dread. If you have an auntie who doesn’t know how to stop asking questions, or an uncle who turns Thanksgiving into throwback Thursday as he throws back the alcohol, you know what I mean. Family may make the holidays hard, but the spirit of the season is love, family, and most importantly Christ. His Word has some great advice for dealing with family, so you don’t have to resort to Thanksgiving clap backs.
Take Jacob for example: he was often fighting with his hairy and emotional twin brother, his parents practiced favoritism, he had to run away from home to escape being murdered, he worked for his lying uncle for over 20 years, and his sister wives were always fighting over him.
But there are some common threads throughout his life that allowed God to make Jacob one of the forefathers of His people.
The first is peace. Jacob recognized that there was a time to fight and a time to make peace. For example, when he was returning home to meet Esau after all their years apart, he sent numerous gifts ahead as a peace offering . You don’t have to send peace offerings to your cousin who never forgave you for peeing in her bed when you were 3, but maybe you could let her have the last deviled egg instead of fighting over it. Although our pride (and our stomachs) may protest, we cannot sacrifice the peace of our family over the last piece of pie. When in doubt about how to address a situation, let peace guide you.
Another guiding factor is honesty. Jacob- even when he was mistreated- was honest. For example, when Laban chased him down after running away, Jacob addressed the situation in front of all the family members who were involved. He wanted witnesses so there wouldn’t be any way for Laban to walk away and tell lies about what really transpired. Now, I’m not saying that we should go and shout everybody’s sins at the dinner table, while grandpa slices the turkey. In Jacob’s situation telling the whole family at once, stopped the gossip that a private conversation may have led to. That may not be the case for your family! Exercise wisdom with your honesty.
You should also respect relationships. Jacob respected his elders, even when they were wrong. When his mom told him to steal Esau’s blessing, he did it. When Laban continuously cheated him, he acquiesced to his uncle. When he wanted to make the decision to move away from Laban, he consulted his wives. We need to have the same understanding of roles and relationships. So when Aunt Jannie says to leave your baby cousin alone…just do it.
Most importantly Jacob gave God the final say. Whenever God spoke to Jacob he listened. He stayed working under Laban’s contentious direction for over 20 years, and he did not make a move to leave until God said so. We have to be willing to endure, to respect, to promote peace and honesty this season, and when God says it’s time to go- don’t stick around for a second longer.
Before your next family get together take some time to really study Jacob’s life, and see more examples of peace, honesty, and respect in action. Let God’s way win this winter. Be blessed!
Have you ever met someone who was put together, and beautifully mastering this thing called life? Well that’s not me. Not by a long shot! That is why I am so thankful for Jesus! I’m a silly, socially awkward, smarty pants, who (for some reason) God found worthy of His grace. I’ve been blessed with many things, the most prominent being, my wild son, a knack for words, and because God has a sense of humor, a shocking propensity for public speaking. I use my gifts to bring glory back to God through my Christian Stewardship blog, First Commission; my Christian Copywriting business, Love Writes; and a plethora of other things including pursuing an education in zoonotic epidemiology and environmental health, and writing fiction and non-fiction Christian books. I keep my plate full with all things Jesus in hopes that one day He might teach me how to not call people the wrong name when I talk to them so that maybe, just maybe- I can inspire someone else.