Don’t you love a festive table the size of a football field, covered with food? You juggle several buttered buns and a plate full of tasty side dishes as you try to win a big turkey. This is a big game. You have to struggle to get into the turkey before all those hungry relatives leave you with one dark meat. First down and sauce go.
It’s especially great when a lot of relatives come to the gala dinner (not to mention “who gets the drumstick” issues), because they bring with them an almost irrefutable excuse to eat in the common room. Away in the kitchen? No sir. We go for a long time. With some fancy footwork, you can grab two pieces of pumpkin pie and work your way to the goal: Lazy Boy. Touchdown!
It’s good to have a goal.
It’s good to have goals in how we treat each other during the holidays. Grace is something like our end zone. Target. Paul reminds us in Colossians 4:6, “Let your word always be of grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one” (CSB).
Around this time of year, we are all keenly aware of the importance of a good seasoning. We need to be even more conscientious about the words we use and how we spice up every conversation. It should be our goal that every holiday talk be filled with the wonderful aroma of grace.
I like the way the Epistle formulates Colossians 4:6. “Be polite in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in conversation, not to put them down, not to exclude them.”
It can become too convenient to bring out the worst in others, to humiliate them with unkind speeches, especially when they eat the last shin that you are sure is rightfully yours. Instead of lovingly inviting others into a gracious dialogue, it is easy to let them get on our last nerves, to exclude them, to exclude them. It doesn’t inspire a spirit of gratitude around, does it? I don’t want to play such holiday games. My goal is to continually offer Jesus-inspired grace in everything I do and in every word I speak.
First Peter 3:8-11 gives us one more bite to chew on. “Finally, you are all like-minded [united in spirit]sympathetic, fraternal, kind-hearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or resentment for resentment [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse]on the contrary, bless [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you are called precisely to inherit the blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]. For the one who wants to enjoy life and see the good days [good – whether apparent or not], ‘must protect his tongue from evil and his mouth from deceit (betrayal, deceit). He must turn away from evil and do what is right. He must seek peace [with God, with self, with others] and look forward to it [actively – not merely desiring it](AMP).
To love with a tender heart and a humble mind, responding with another blessing. It’s a way to guarantee a happy, peaceful, well-seasoned vacation, even if Uncle Mort gets the last drumstick. And even if someone is ahead of you in the chair.