The crackling fire place, the stockings all lined up in a row, the smell of warm cider and a freshly trimmed Christmas tree.
These are the pictures that dance in our minds around the holidays.
Well, it's the picture for some people.
But then there are the rest of us whose picture is much less fanciful. There's some of us on this side of Christmas who don't want to go home.
We're the ones who come from towns we'd rather not talk about or from families we are intentionally vague about when you ask us about our holiday plans. We're the ones whose families have been plagued by divorce, addiction, adultery, lies, deceit, mental illness, fits of anger, abandonment or abuse.
We're the ones whose Christmas picture is broken.
So what if you, like me, are traveling back to a broken home for the holidays? How should you prepare, react and respond?
If you are like me, you've probably developed some poor habits when you go home. Maybe you slip back into old, destructive patterns. Maybe you numb out and coast through the whole experience. Maybe you always blow up at that one family member who seems to make you crazy, even when you swore you wouldn't react that way this time.
While I know everyone's broken home is different, here's one resounding lesson I've learned that applies to them all:
Your Savior Gets It
One of the crazy-good benefits of being a Christian is that our God is not far off and unfamiliar with our struggles.
Jesus Christ Himself had a hard time when it came to His hometown. Can you remember? Mark 6:1-5 tells us that Nazareth wouldn't take him seriously.
"You mean Joseph and Mary's kid? The carpenter? Yeah right, like he ever turned out to be anything good. Wasn't she pregnant before they got married?"
It's not a newsflash that a lot of people didn't buy the whole "An angel appeared and Mary got pregnant by the Holy Spirit" thing. The people surrounding Jesus' life looked at Him and His family story as though it was a joke, or worse, an abomination. Whispers and judgmental side-glances were probably part of Jesus' entire upbringing.
And He somehow bore all of that without sinning.
Do you feel that way this holiday season? Do you always feel as though you're never taken seriously when you go back to that place? Do you feel as though you'll always be seen as that person you were when you were 12? Do you hate going home because you know you'll have to face people who have heard about the scandal that happened in your family?
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