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Family again! Not at Christmas

By Karen Y. Stevens

All the bright colored lights, the chill in the air, the hustle and bustle, driving around neighborhoods, (to peak at how creative people have been in their yards), shopping, lots of sweets, count-down to Christmas on the Hallmark channel, accepting invitations to get-togethers; all these things are reminders about Christmas.

These are all wonderful things, and do make great memories, but what about the other side of the story? The extra traffic, the fighting of the crowds in the stores, arguing with your spouse and children, while trying to put up the outdoor lights and Christmas tree, the extra pounds you just keep packing on to your waistline, all the people pulling you from one event to another, and where is Jesus in all this?

There are always two sides to everything.

Just because you look at your neighbor as a picture, perfect family, don’t be fooled. Rich, poor, popular, whatever; they have the same life experiences we all do. That’s why Jesus said, don’t look at men, look at me.

We cannot afford to look at men, because they will always disappoint us, but at the same time, we need each other.

My friend and I, were walking the other morning, and a huge skein of geese flew overhead. There had to be about 2,000 birds all flying together, never touching one another, as they flew at speeds of 45 to 60 mph. The reason they fly together is because, birds also need each other. The lead bird creates lift, so all the other birds benefit from the lift, to make flying easier. Also, for protection from predators. If they are sick they can fly in the back where the lift is the easiest. But the birds also need their space. In order, for them to fly with such ease, the birds have three rules; that each bird steers itself to avoid crowding, or bumping its neighbors (separation), each bird tries to match the average heading of its neighbors (alignment), and that each bird steers towards the average position of its neighbor, maintaining flock structure (cohesion).

So, separation, alignment, and cohesion, might be 3 good rules for us to follow this Holiday Season.

There is an old saying; “Company is like fish; after 3 days they start stinking.” If you do have family and friends coming to visit, plan activities that will give you some separation. Schedule your company to go to the Stark Museum, it’s free!

An alignment that best suits this analogy is: “a position of agreement or alliance”. Find one family member that you agree with, and form an alliance. Don’t fight with your family, be ready. If there is a subject that always brings strife (like politics), have subjects, or games ready to switch the mood.

And, then lastly, cohesion – “the action, or fact of forming a united whole”. Always reinforce the idea of family. Family is important, and you should all stick together. God calls us His family for a reason. Not because He knew we wouldn’t get along, because we won’t. Because, He knew we need each other, to add “lift” to the life of others, to let the sick rest when they need to, to take the lead when it’s our turn. He gave us this great, big world so we could have plenty of space to ourselves, but when it’s time to come together, let’s put aside our pride, on whatever is bothering us, and give ourselves, as the gift this year.

 

Karen Y. Stevens, Founder of Orange County Christian Writers Guild