Jesus Loves My Grumpy Relatives
Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas bring us into close proximity with those in need. The stranger lingering in the foyer of the store. The talkative relative whose political diatribe you’ve memorized. The whining child who can’t live without this or that toy..
She thinks she needs your spare change.
He thinks he needs to air his grievances.
She thinks she won’t survive without this new toy.
But we all know what they need is Jesus.
Most of us who grew up in the church are familiar with the childhood song, Jesus Loves Me.
Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong,
They are weak but he is strong.
I’m reminded of the children who were turned away from Jesus by his disciples. He’s too busy to be bothered, they said. But Jesus quickly dismissed the disciples in their folly and scooped the children up in his arms. He blessed them. He told them great things were ahead of them. He loved them.
Could it be that the little ones we sing of might not always be little children? Might little ones be anyone who we would naturally dismiss saying we don’t have time for them or their circumstances?
Reaching out to the little ones in our lives isn’t easy. In our natural sin inclined ways, we see them and their circumstances and instinctively say, “I don’t have time for this.” This is especially true during the holidays when we have a list we’re checking twice. Slowing down for the little ones is not on our list.
But if we take the time to slow down, Christ will step in, dismiss our selfish thoughts and move us to compassion. We may not literally scoop them up in our arms, but our actions will speak blessing over them.
This holiday season, respond with love and grace to the stranger—and your grumpy relative, too. Remind them that they belong to Jesus.
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:13–16