When many of us return home for Thanksgiving, we quickly revert to old family patterns and expectations. We’ve all seen it, the one labeled sensitive in junior high is still thought of as delicate. The favored one still gets the best seat at the table. The responsible one is still expected to do all the dishes and so on. Sometime we have to take a step back from what we think we know about each other and allow curiosity and openness to reveal what’s new. Of any year in our lifetime, 2020 is surely the year to bring a fresh approach to our family time.
Believe it or not, Jesus went through this same scenario with His family. In Mark 3 we get the uncensored version of how some families respond to change. A multitude had surrounded Jesus so that He couldn’t even get a bite to eat. “But when His own people (His family) heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”” (Mark 3:21) It’s almost as if his family was saying Dude, you are a carpenter not a rabbi! What the heck, man? The brothers of Jesus later grew accustomed to His new position and encouraged Him to go to Jerusalem for essentially a publicity hype to boost His popularity. Scripture doesn’t sugar-coat it by summarizing: “For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” (John 7:5) Jesus later defined family as “whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
Jesus spent the majority of His life in His family household. But His family only knew Him in the flesh. The did not know Him in the Spirit. They didn’t know His purpose or calling. They had to grow and process new information about Him just like everyone else. Many people He grew up around could not accept Jesus for who He became. They questioned, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son?” The passage concludes, “So they were offended at Him.” (Matthew 13:55-57) Is there offense in any of our gatherings?
In our homes over Thanksgiving, people we have known in the flesh will be gathered around our table. Instead of looking at them in the flesh- the way they speak and interact, the ways we’ve always known them to be, why not look at them with spiritual eyes? Ask God to reveal His calling on their life. Ask God to give a glimpse into HIS heart for our families. We can ask God to give specific scripture for someone at our table. He alone knows what encourages us and reminds us that He sees our heart. This Thanksgiving, allow the Holy Spirit to usher in a refreshing presence of curiosity and acceptance. Surely this is the heart of creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion.
Next week I will share five tips for hosting a loving and beautiful holiday gathering. I’m excited for new ways of creating the culture we long to possess! Thanks to everyone who has been sharing my blog and remember you can sign up to receive it in your email by going to www.MargaretAllen.org and scrolling to the bottom of Monday’s with Margaret. We just started the second printing of my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. Get it anywhere books are sold.