We’ve all dealt with them. The uncle who asks you what your plans are and gives you the look of ultimate disapproval when you reply that you don’t know. That cousin who still treats you like you’re five, even if you’re twenty years old and more mature than her fiancé. The aunt who insists on giving you a big, wet kiss every time she sees you.
Ladies and gentlemen of Corban, I present to you what I like to refer to as the PR: Pesky Relative. The very entity which makes us dread the holidays.
For a few years, I operated under the explicit belief that my relatives could do no wrong – or at least that I shouldn’t believe it of them. Over the past year, I’ve realized what a ridiculous idea that was. I don’t get along with all my relatives. In fact, some of them are downright irritating. Let’s face it, I’ve got a couple of PRs myself. But I can handle them. Fear of dealing with my relatives does not diminish my love of the holidays.
So when I hear people express their dread of the holidays because of family gatherings, something in my Christmas spirit dies a little bit on their behalf. It pains me that the real purpose for these holidays is getting overshadowed by people who obviously eye the man ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outside your local Fred Meyer with disdain.
So in order to preserve the holiday spirit for all you people who are my fellow victims of PRs, I have compiled some words of wisdom, grounded in Scripture:
- Tis the season to be jolly. Therefore, BE JOLLY! Spread some Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear. Potentially in their ears–never mind. Bad idea. But honestly, a happy spirit is contagious. And if the PR in question really is weighing you down, just remember: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
- Remember: It’s all fun and games until Santa checks the naughty list. While it may be fun to mess with your more annoying PRs, getting one up on them doesn’t make you the better person. No matter how satisfying you think it will be to have the last word, it’s usually not worth it. Remember Matthew 5:39, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn them the other cheek as well.” At least content yourself with calling them “an evil person,” right?
- Bob Hope once said, “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.” The holidays, whether Christmas or Thanksgiving, are an opportunity to do the very thing we are commanded to do in the Bible: Love our neighbors – or PRs, as ourselves. When you think about it, it’s really a very small part of your holidays, a couple of hours at most, in which we have to deal with people who get on our nerves. How big of a deal is it to put aside the annoying little things in favor of keeping up the holiday spirit?
- It all began with family. The very first Christmas, the very first family gathering, was two very new parents with a tiny baby, surrounded by complete strangers who would become part of the family of God. The point of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus. When we come together to commemorate this holiday, we are like the wise men and the shepherds, come from afar to worship. Whether your family members are Christians or not, that doesn’t change the fact that in this season, you must keep Jesus first and foremost in your mind.
Basically, here’s the point: It’s all about Jesus. He sees your pesky relatives, and He loves them regardless of their PR status. If we are to model Christlike behavior, a good first step is to try to see our relatives as Jesus sees them.