Don't you just love a food-covered holiday table that's about as big as a football field? You're juggling several buttered rolls and a plate full of tasty side dishes while you're trying to score some major turkey. It's a big play. You have to really scramble to hit the turkey before all those ravenous relatives leave you stuck with only dark meat. First down and gravy to go.
It's especially great to have lots of relatives over for a holiday dinner (all white/dark meat issues aside) because they bring with them a virtually uncontestable excuse to eat in the family room. Sidelined in the kitchen? No-sir-ee. We're going long. With some fancy footwork, you can swoop up two pieces of pumpkin pie as you bob and weave your way to the goal: the Lazy Boy. Touchdown!
It's good to have a goal.
We need goals in how we treat each other through the holidays, too. Grace is sort of like our end zone. It's our goal. Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt." Around this time of year, we're all keenly aware of the importance of good seasoning. We need to be even more conscientious about the words we use to season each conversation. Our every holiday conversation should be full of the wonderful flavor of grace. Tasty!
I love the way The Message puts Colossians 4:6: "Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out."
It can become all too comfortable to bring out the worst in others, to put them down with ungracious speech--especially when they're eating the white meat that you're sure is rightfully yours. Instead of lovingly inviting others into grace-filled dialogue, it can become easy to let them get on our last nerve, to exclude them, to cut them out. It doesn't exactly inspire a spirit of thankfulness all around, does it? Those are definitely not the kind of holiday games we should be playing.
Instead we need to consistently offer Jesus-inspired grace in all we do and in all we say.
1 Peter 3:8-11 says, "Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, 'If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others'" (NLT).
Loving with tender hearts and humble minds, responding to others with blessing. That's the way to guarantee a happy, peaceful, perfectly seasoned holiday--even if Uncle Mort gets all the white meat AND shoves you out of the recliner.