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Every Thanksgiving gathering includes family members and others we cannot wait “TO EMBRACE,” and some we have “TO BRACE FOR”. Those that we cannot wait to “Embrace” are those whose actions go out of their way to include and enrich our life and the life of others:

The grandmother or aunt who always remembers to send not only a Birthday and a Christmas card, but a Valentine, Easter and Halloween card. They even send a St. Patrick’s Day card with a little gift, even if you are not Irish.

A cousin who checks in on Facebook, who knows what days are special to you, and lets you know that they knew it.

The little brother or sister who waits for your text message every day, and you wait for their reply. Those are the ones who at Thanksgiving are easy to “Embrace”.

The “Brace For” family members and others who are coming are not so easy. Every family has those who are part of the family tree, but do not fit into the family plan. They hold political views very opposed to ours. They are argumentative and easily get fired up. They make it hard to even change the subject.

But they are still family or are “like family”. We try to welcome them with hospitality because they are family. But also because, as people of faith, we know our “family” goes way beyond our genes. Our “family” will always be who we make it to be.

I learned long ago that “family” is the only group and the only place where we can go and be accepted “just as we are”, warts, bald head, and bad breath.

You don’t have to choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.

Families are like fudge…mostly sweet, with lots of nuts!

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