In Case You’re Crying on a Twin Bed at Your Parents’ House at Any Point Today
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other. … Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:12-14 (NRSV)
Whoever chose this reading for the day after Christmas must have known. You don’t just accidentally pick a scripture that says “bear with one another” for the #1 day when such advice is needed.
When the kids have nothing left to unwrap and turn to other forms of destruction. When siblings slip back into roles they thought they gave up decades ago. When the loaded comments you overlooked yesterday to keep things merry start to wear on you. When uncles turn to politics. When cousins get religious.
Colossians reads like the pep talk you deliver in a whisper after you roll off the mostly deflated air mattress: “Let’s rise to the occasion, clothe ourselves with love, and we’ll leave after lunch.” Whoever chose it must have known.
And God knows too.
That’s what it means to worship a God who became human. They know. They get it. They’ve been there. They are there. With you. Right now. On the air mattress. Trying to remember what your therapist said. White-knuckling your sobriety. Crying in your childhood bedroom.
So, holy and beloved ones, when you’ve blown your nose and your eyes aren’t so puffy, go join the Monopoly game that has not yet become a fight. Bear with one another. Forgive each other. Clothe yourselves with love. And leave after lunch.
God, you know how it is. Thank you.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.