BRINGING GRACE HOME

By Sarah Markley: You hate it with every fiber. You swore last year you were going to go to Hawaii next December. Or Arizona. Or Idaho. Just not here, not again.

Yet here you sit surrounded by well-meaning, but entirely crazy people. It has taken every ounce of life you have just to make it through December. You’ve spent time trying to make your mother happy, money completing that Christmas list and buying exorbitantly priced plane tickets, and energy just trying to keep it all together before the 25th.

But with some of us, being with family goes beyond annoying and life sucking. You hate going home because they are

Narrow-minded Racist Homophobic Democrat Republican Too religious Not religious enough Judgmental Hateful Embarrassing.

You can’t do another holiday arguing about politics, God, or how this country is going to hell in Obama’s hand basket. You. Just. Can’t.

Going home might mean you’ll see the uncle who has always given you that sick feeling inside. Or the aunt who looked the other way. You might have to share a car ride with the brother who will never get it. Or share the kitchen sink with the cousin who has a baby on one hip and a toddler at her knee including a smidge of judgment on her lips: “Why on earth can’t you find a nice man, sweetie?”

Going home might mean you see the molester, or run into the ex, or see the man that ruined your sister.

As a people who are called to radical grace can we give even our families another chance?

Can you give another chance to the family that has wounded you, has stolen years from you, has allowed you to be walked on, to be yelled at, to be abused and ruined? Can you give even them grace? They’ve damaged you and you’re paying for it in therapy. And they just will never really understand or change.

But this Christmas let us frame our families in a way that allows us to see them through the eyes of love and through the eyes of radical grace.

Radical grace means loving the priests who hurt little boys and the mother’s who’ve murdered their children. Radical grace means loving villains, and bullies and serial adulterers. But radical grace also means loving our families.

Maybe we can begin to change the world this December by being the extenders of grace around our own tables.

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