Social media and other blog-oriented news sources have been populated in recent days with the potential for family dust-ups at Thanksgiving gatherings regarding political issues. It’s been interesting to me that writers on the subject are pre-supposing squabbles at best and all-out brawls at worst.
Not that anyone cares, but I’m suggesting that the family dinner table at Thanksgiving is the last place to talk about anything controversial.
The political landscape has been built around demonizing the other side, whichever the other side happens to be in your mind. It’s been that way for decades, maybe centuries. It’s important to be informed on issues and to speak up when one sees injustices and need for reform, but it’s folly to think that the Thanksgiving table is the place where such matters can be settled.
So, I’m calling for a moratorium on arguing about anything this week. There may be serious situations that you and your loved ones need to address, but could it wait for a different day?
In 1979 the Pittsburg Pirates won the World Series. They were an eclectic group of athletes who found a way to lay aside their individual preferences and pursuits to achieve a magical run through the season and then the playoffs. Along the way they adopted a disco hit by Sister Sledge as their theme song. “We Are Family” reverberated through the clubhouse at Pittsburg’s Three Rivers Stadium and even in the visiting team locker rooms at road games.
The Pirates wore some of the ugliest uniform combinations in MLB history but they played a beautiful brand of baseball. And together, this “family” found their way to an epic experience of joy.
I’m praying that our family Thanksgiving gatherings can focus on the more positive aspects of our relationships. Your family member may, in your mind, be absolutely wrong in how they see the world. You may be absolutely right about the issue in question. But will it really be worth it to win the argument while continuing to deepen the divide between you and your loved ones?
Another pop hit, “The Living Years,” has impacted me since it debuted in December of 1988. It addresses the generational passages between a man, his father, and his son. The following lines offer a hopeful challenge.
So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts
So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different date
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be okay!
May the grace of God be present as you gather around the family table in these days. And may your words bring blessing on those whom you love and who love you.