It's ironic that the time of year that's supposed to be about family togetherness, thankfulness, good cheer is--all too often--an unfortunate reminder of just how flawed most families are. It's certainly nothing new.
Remember Joseph? The son of clan patriarch Jacob (who got the title of "oldest" son by tricking his father and brother), Joseph was clearly daddy's favorite. And he had no trouble reminding all his brothers of that fact.
When they tired of listening to him gloat and feeling "less than," they threw him down a well. They at least had conscience enough not to leave him there to die, so they sold him to a passing Egyptian caravan to be a slave.
He did work his way into a place of favor and when his family needed his help years later when faced with famine, he forgave them and took them in with the famous line "What you intended for evil, God intended for good."
It can be hard to imagine that some bad family dynamics can be used for good, but at least there's always that glimmer of hope. I know I've got a long list of ways my family was (and is) far from perfect. Some of those experiences taught me things to avoid in my own life; some give me better understanding of others. I've learned to fight fair--not to say things I really don't mean/will really regret, not to pull out the most hurtful remarks just to win a fight.
And maybe most important, I've learned that harboring grudges does nothing for me. Forgiveness isn't about setting my "hurter" free, it's about setting myself free from the bondage of the past.
A few years ago I was reminded that I've done my own share of hurting; Jesus went to the cross because of the wrong I've done. But my forgiveness is complete and He doesn't hold any of it against me. May this Thanksgiving be just such a reminder for you.
Nutted Wild Rice
This is a recipe I created a number of years ago to go as a reminder of the forgiveness Joseph offered his brothers. The combination of the grains and fruits and nuts is symbolic of putting aside differences and coming together.
1 cup mixed long grain and wild rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teasp. curry powder (this isn't a curry dish, the curry powder just adds a nice depth)
1/3 cup diced, mixed dried fruit (peaches, apricots, apples, raisins, etc)
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/3 cup toasted pecan or walnut halves
3 tbsp butter (optional)
Bring chicken broth to rolling boil; add mixed rice and curry powder.
Return to boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat.
Stir in fruit and nuts, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add butter; fluff with fork before serving.
It's a great side dish with turkey (could be a really nice change of pace to go with the leftovers); throw some chopped turkey in to heat through in the last 5 minutes of cooking and it can be a one-dish meal.