When Family is “Complicated”

Let’s face it. Great Uncle Horace is not going to change this year.

He will still be obnoxious, drink too much, bring totally inappropriate gifts and end up snoring in the recliner during the family Christmas gathering. Yes, he’s a piece of work.

But he’s your family’s piece of work!

Ahhh…. extended families during the holidays. Can someone say, “It’s complicated?”

Even if we didn’t have all the drama with in-laws and outlaws and custody and visitation, we would still find ourselves with a living room full of people with varied views on everything from religion to sports to politics to parenting and even the traditional menu for the holiday meal.

Don’t dread it. And don’t skip it. Embrace the mix! Do what the apostle Paul encouraged If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12.18 

Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Matthew 5.9  Unfortunately, our world is more than ever defined by our many conflicts.  

But my friend Jennifer Kennedy Dean in “Pursuing the Christ” brings the focus in tighter to our personal worlds. “Little arguments, petty responses later regretted, disagreements blown out of proportion, and hurt feelings, nurtured and fed, occur in abundance. Let peace begin with me… The focus is on what I can do to be an instrument of [Jesus’] peace.” 

The Bible promises that the “dawn from heaven will break upon us… to guide us on the path of peace.” Luke 1.78-79 In following that pathway, let’s offer acceptance and grace.

C.S. Lewis once commented that there are two kinds of love: “We love wise and kind and beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable people because they need us. This second kind is the more divine because that is how God loves us: not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.”

Love. Peace. It’s all been given to us.

Will you return the favor this season?

under the mercy, Lucinda

copyright 2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Check out my brand new bookLife-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today! More about “Life-Giving Choices” HERE!


  1. Maria Chisnall on December 11, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you for this and all your postings. You and your messages have been a blessing to me.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 12, 2019 at 1:10 am

      Maria, thanks so much for reading and Merry Christmas!

    • Becky Puntigam on December 15, 2019 at 7:35 am

      Thanks Cindy, for your continual encouraging messages. Blessings, Becky Puntigam

      • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 17, 2019 at 3:13 pm

        Merry Christmas to you Becky and all the gang in Seattle – we miss y’all.

    • Gail Harris on December 17, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks Cindy. What a good reminder. It has taken me a long time to grasp hold of ‘not my job to fix everybody and every situation’.
      Appreciated the other comments also.
      They will know I am a Christian by my love.
      I am very grateful for the Lord’s love, patience, mercy, and blessings for me. I can do no less for others; only with God’s help.
      Pray God bless you richly with more Himself . ❤️❤️ Gail

      • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 17, 2019 at 3:13 pm

        Thanks Gail! May we extend more of the grace we have received…

  2. Dorcas cameron on December 11, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    What a beautiful thought to start my day…..I am the ‘disagreeable’ person most of the time because a lot of people seem ‘stupid’ to me. Thank goodness the Lord is ‘Love’ and because He delights to’give’. I’m truly doomed on my own. Another thing I delight in is that He is sooo very patient also as I try to learn to be more patient and understanding with ‘stupid’ people as He is with me. Thank you Lordfor your patience is my prayer this morning.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 12, 2019 at 1:09 am

      Dorcas, I think we’ve all been the “piece of work” in the family at one time or another! You are loved today….

  3. Sheree Harrington on December 11, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks, Lucy for this timely word. We need to remember there are no unlovable people rather it is their behavior that challenges us. However,
    behaviors are rooted in some emotional pain that gets expressed through the behavior. God knows we are all broken and wounded yet He loves us. We don’t necessarily need to experience warm fuzzies towards those demonstrating obnoxious behavior but we do need to treat them with kindness and the love of Jesus.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 12, 2019 at 1:08 am

      Sheree, you are so right – thanks for this reminder.

  4. Tammy Sue Willey on December 12, 2019 at 2:38 am

    What a timely message. Thank you for your words of wisdom. It is so true what you said as you explained it uncomplicated.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 12, 2019 at 11:45 am

      Always good to hear from you Tammy Sue. Merry Christmas to you and Curt!

  5. Kathy Collard Miller on December 12, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    What a wise reminder, Lucinda. We can give because we have been given not only enough for salvation but enough for godly living–even if we can’t attain perfection. Yes, more of a challenge at the holidays but I’m so grateful God is not overwhelmed. Have a blessed and meaningful Christmas!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 12, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      Kathy, what a joy to hear from you over on the Left Coast. Have a beautiful Christmas season with everyone….

  6. Nancy J Smith on December 12, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you this is so true! Good reminder to ” let peace begin with me”. It doesn’t negate any wrong doing or hurt feelings but it prevents new disagreements from happening. Having this attitude made our Thanksgiving weekend better!!!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 17, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      Yes, Nancy, we can always choose our attitude! Merry Christmas to you and your family…

  7. Mary J Renneckar on December 13, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you, Cindy.
    All my children, in-laws, and grandchildren will be together for a week this year. I pray the Jesus’ love and peace prevail.
    Blessings, Mary J

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 17, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      I shall be praying that for all our families, Mary J. Have a grand week together!

Leave a Comment