Its almost December! We are ready to count down the days until Christmas. ‘Tis the season for holidays and gatherings with family and friends. We can be thrilled to see our family and friends, or we may be concerned about it. I love my husband and kids, and I pray that my kids will always want to be home with us. I pray that we will be their safe place full of love and encouragement, where they know how much we love them. Some people are blessed with loving families. These relationships are rewarding and fulfilling. For others, relationships with family can be complicated. There is so much history. Family members remember you as a child trying to figure out life. They have formed their opinions about you that seem set in stone. As you grow and change, they often cannot see who you are now. Instead, they see who you were. Even if you spent years changing to become a better person, they can’t see you now. This contrasting perception can be frustrating.
In the bible, Jesus addressed the complicated family dynamic. Jesus had been telling them, “A prophet is without honor only in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own home.” I always thought home would be the one place where family loves and accepts you no matter what you do. Sometimes you are blessed with this ideal, and sometimes you are not. Jesus, the son of God, was not accepted with honor in his hometown and with relatives in his own house. He could not even perform miracles in his hometown. “He was amazed at their unbelief.” So, if Jesus wasn’t accepted in his hometown, and he is the son of God, it should give us a new perspective on family relationships. People around the world gather to celebrate the birth of the Risen King, Jesus. If you have complicated family dynamics in your life, remember that Jesus’s relatives did not fully understand him either.
Jesus had been telling them, “A prophet is without honor only in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own home.” He couldn’t perform a miracle there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went around to the villages and continued teaching.
–Mark 6:4-6 International Standard Version (ISV)
We can’t select our family, however we can select our friends. Friendships can bloom or fade away. A friend was talking about the seasons of life this morning. Some friends are only there for a season. I have a neighbor that has become a very good friend, and she is moving next month. I am so happy for her, because the move will be great for their family. But, I am really going to miss her and her family. She was fun, honest and helped me out, without ever asking me for anything in return. I hope that we will always stay friends, when she moves to another state. It will be different, since I won’t see her and her family everyday. I am trying to remind myself that God has seasons for us, and this will be a new season for me. I am sad, however I need to look forward to the future and happy that God blessed me with such a great neighbor and friend.
Great friends are a blessing. Friendships can evolve, change, fade away or end before we are ready for the change. Sometimes, there is a disagreement, and the friendship ends. The bible has passages about friends disagreeing and moving on. Paul and Barnabas had been traveling around spreading the word of God together. They had been through a lot together, spreading God’s word, performing miracles and fleeing death threats. Suddenly, “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” Snap, just like that, their friendship ended. God puts people in our lives at the right time for a reason. I am trying to accept that changes are inevitable, even if I am not ready for the change. God has better plans for us, and we should move forward knowing that good things are waiting for us.
Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas
Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
–Acts 15:36-41 (NIV)
During this festive time of year, enjoy the gatherings with family and friends. Rejoice knowing that Jesus was born and saved us from sin. It can be a time to remember how far you have come since childhood and praise God for refining you, so God’s glory can shine brightly through you.