Monday, November 15, 2010

The reality of the Norman Rockwell Family

Why do people get so depressed during the holidays? I think one reason is that we spend a lot more time with our family; and our family can’t live up to the Norman Rockwell photo that we have in our head.

Isn’t that what we all think family is supposed to be? Why do we set ourselves up for failure! If you are looking for the perfect family, then you are living in a fantasy world.

The truth is if we really knew what was going on in the Norman Rockwell family it would probably be much more like this - Grandma is mad at Grandpa because he has been watching TV all morning and not helping her with anything and now he is in the way when she is trying to get the 16 lb bird on the table. Little Johnny is messing up the house quicker than you can keep it picked up. Grandma has stepped on his dang toys a dozen times this morning. She can’t believe that his mother is visiting and not helping watch him. Mike is begging to take the car over to his girlfriends house after dinner and the parents are very concerned that they are moving to quickly. Dad lost his job and he suspects that mom is drinking again. Aunt Jane and Uncle Jim are getting a divorce, but haven’t found the “perfect” time to tell everyone. Sally isn’t talking to her parents, because they are so old fashioned. Great Aunt Mary can’t hear anything that is being said and Great Uncle Jeremy thinks he has the perfect family.

Even if you go to the Bible for the perfect example of family, here is what you get.

Adam's Family - Adam's family began with blame and ended in murder. When Adam ate from the forbidden tree and was banished from Eden he blamed Eve for eating the apple. Their bickering probably continued for many years and was probably a bad example for their kids Cain and Abel. The dysfunctional family then became worse when Cain got jealous of his brother Abel and murdered him.
Abraham's family - Abraham's family definitely had some dysfunctional moments. Abraham pretends that Sarah is his sister. Later Abraham has a child with another woman. Then there's that whole ordeal where Abraham nearly sacrifice Isaac, that's gotta leave some emotional scars.
Lot's family - At one point Lot offers his daughters to rapists. If that isn't dysfunctional enough for you then how about a little incest too?
Isaac's family - Isaac loves his son Esau more than his other son, Jacob. His wife Rebekah, loves Jacob more than Esau. The Mom and Jacob plot against Esau and daddy and eventually Jacob has to run away.

Jacob's family - Jacob has thirteen kids. Okay, that's not too dysfunctional but he had those thirteen kids with four different women. Jacob favored one son over the others, those other brothers threw him down a well, sold him to slavery and then told their father he was dead.

David’s Family – David had an affair with Bethsheba, had her husband killed, but made it look like an accident, let his son get away with raping his daughter and then one son killed the other son.

Being a part of a family is much tougher than it seems. This year step back, take a look at the big picture, and realize that we are all imperfect. Make this the year that you obediently forgive one another.

Instead of dreading the holidays, make this a time where you are thankful for the family God has given you, flaws and all!

Colossians 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)

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