How to Be Thankful For and Love Your Whole Family

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Everyone has at least 1 relative who makes the holidays difficult. This "how to" is full of tips & advice on ways to make family gatherings less stressful.

Everyone has at least one relative who makes the holidays difficult.

Are you ready?

Most of us in the U.S. are preparing to gather with family later today or tomorrow to celebrate and remember the year’s blessings. We’ll eat too much and carry on family traditions.

And this year I’m inviting you to start a new tradition…

Put aside your differences and just love each other. 

Some families are really good at this and others . . . not so much.

Recently, I heard about a family whose children were refusing to join the family’s holiday get-together because they were “offended” by the way mom and dad voted in the recent election.

It’s time for us to make people more important than politics.

God gave you your family. Like it or not, He chose them for a reason.

These people fill the early chapters of your life story and good or bad, God can use your story to help and bless others.

I get it, your brother-in-law is obnoxious and your aunt and uncle drive you up the wall. They bait you and you’re tired of going home with a bloody tongue from biting back all the things you’d like to say.

My friends, there is something important I want to remind you. Everyone, yes everyone . . . this includes you, your siblings, parents, and your obnoxious aunt and uncle view the world through a lens of their own experiences and emotions. You may not agree with them. You may not even like them. But you have not lived their life and you don’t know all that’s happened to shape their thoughts and beliefs.

And the truth is, they don’t know yours either.

Give grace.

Remember . . . grace is giving something that isn’t deserved.

Don’t you want people to give grace to you?

For the few hours or even days that God allows us to be together, we need to suck it up, put aside our differences, forgive, and love the people in our families.

Everyone has at least 1 relative who makes the holidays difficult. This "how to" is full of tips & advice on ways to make family gatherings less stressful.

How to Be Thankful For and Love Your Whole Family

I found some quotes and verses to inspire you as you prepare to spend time with your family.

“The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.” ~Mother Teresa

Sure you’re passionate about the state of the world. You may be worried about the future. People seem to be taking sides and that’s unsettling.

Start the healing at home. You are called to be a peacemaker. (If you want to know more about what that means, read – 10 Things You Need to Know about Being a Peacemaker. I promise it will help you tomorrow.) Ask God to give you the words He wants you to speak.

♥ Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:12–13

Many of us go to family get-togethers burdened with a load of hurt-filled memories, offenses, and frustrations. Let it go. Forgive. You aren’t perfect. Your siblings and parents could probably make a long list of ways you hurt them.

Make the decision to forgive the past. If you can’t do it for them . . . do it for you. I promise it will bless your heart.

♥ “A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian… and most of all, his family ought to know.” ~ D.L. Moody

Don’t preach. Don’t be a know-it-all. Be humble and…

Ask God to give you an extra measure of Spirit fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23)

♥ Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:20–21

Give thanks for everything? Everyone? Yes! Even the difficult people in your family.

And submit? Wow, that doesn’t come easily, does it? Other translations of this verse use words like serve, yield, and respect. Why? Out of reverence and love for Christ Jesus.

Don’t worry about being “right;” decide to show the love of Jesus because you love Jesus.

♥ The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation.~ Adrian Rogers

Don’t ever stop praying for the people in your family. God is still transforming hearts and minds. Even the situation that seems to be beyond hope . . . don’t give up. God is still performing miracles every day.

♥ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

I like the Life Application Bible’s notes for these verses…

“God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is impossible to have this love unless God helps us set aside our own natural desires so that we can love and not expect anything in return.”

It’s not easy. More than that . . . it’s hard! But with God’s help we can do what seems like the impossible.

♥ Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short. ~ Unknown

I believe in “no regrets” loving. I don’t want to look back and think, “if only…”

Life is short. The time we spend together even shorter. So, for a few days a year let’s put aside our differences and just love each other.

Everyone has at least 1 relative who makes the holidays difficult. This "how to" is full of tips & advice on ways to make family gatherings less stressful.

And for some positive ideas to make the holiday fun, check out…

9 Fun Family Thanksgiving Traditions by Rosalind Jukic

21 Fun and Original Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy on Thanksgiving by Mike Spohr

Looking Forward to Thanksgiving: Six Ideas for Family Fun by Laurel Kirchner

11 Awesome Family Activities for Thanksgiving Day by Erin Dower

One More Thing…


Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

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  1. You bless me so much, Deb. Thank you for these timely words. “No regrets loving”, that’s what I’m going for. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. the culture in the US is so ugly right now. I’ve heard awful stories about the divisions in families over political and social issues. while there are definitely critical issues that need our attention, its so sad to me that so many have allowed those temporary things to blot out the truly enduring things… like relationships with our family. I pray that as so many gather together on Thanksgiving, we will look into the eyes of those who we sit around the table with and despite any differences, truly love them with the love of Christ! thanks!

  3. Christine Duncan says:

    Give grace and start the healing at home… this is such important advice right now. Funny how entrenched we become in right and wrong, filling up our intentions with the negative and draining stances we won’t move from… when instead, a shift to grace across the board would begin to be the shining light of His love on everything and everyone.
    Even here in Canada, we’re noticing the passion being funneled into empty opinions instead of into more grounded relationship… praying we learn from this season and quickly!
    Beautiful post, Deb, visiting from #TellHisStory today! Blessings!

  4. Such a timely, wise post, Deb. I will carry it into my Christmas celebrations with challenging family members. Blessings to you this Thanksgiving weekend!