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Intersection of Life and Faith

6 Ways to Survive and Thrive at Thanksgiving (Surrounded by Relatives)

  • Drew Williams
6 Ways to Survive and Thrive at Thanksgiving (Surrounded by Relatives)

Of especially tricky family members, “The Lion King’s” Zazu quipped, “There’s one in every family, sire. Two in mine, actually. And they always manage to ruin special occasions.” Thanksgiving is no exception. Of this holiday, life coach Martha Beck wrote, “You can put half your life's savings into therapy—good therapy, effective therapy—and, 15 minutes into a holiday reunion, you still become hopelessly enmeshed in the same old crazy dynamics.” It is, therefore, possible for us to come to the Thanksgiving table already fearing the worst. This, of course, leads to increasing our stress levels, which in turn leaves us primed with hair-trigger responses that, ironically, lead us to being labeled as the badly-behaved relative.

So what are we to do? The apostle Paul wrote, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Let me begin by focusing on just five words: