This holiday season is different for sure... Travel is being discouraged, gathering to share a meal with multi generations is frowned upon, and many do not have the additional resources to spare for lavish presents and overindulgences.
We all have unmet expectations when it comes to Christmas.
Now might be a good time to reevaluate what is really important this Christmas. Faith, family and charity are my favorite things to focus on during this time of year. Here is my take on each of them:Christmas.
FAITH - Jesus is certainly the Reason for the Season. The babe in the manger born in Bethlehem came into this world to fulfill prophesy foretold long ago of a Savior – Christ the Lord. He is our Prince of Peace during times of turmoil and uncertainty. Jesus is the “indescribable gift” from the Father above.
(II Corinthians 9:15).
FAMILY - Now there is a “loaded” subject. We all have them, but sometimes we don't like them very much. Often during family gatherings tensions arise between siblings, parents and children, and spouses. Every family has their danger zone when it comes to relationship pitfalls. Placing unrealistic expectations on your family can cause depression, anxiety, and anger. Be sure bathe your holidays in prayer. Extend grace where needed and use self-control liberally.
CHARITY - Nothing makes you feel better than meeting a need and helping someone less fortunate than yourself. Giving emulates the character of Jesus. This is the season for gift giving and donating your time, energy and finances to worthy causes. Share with others what the Lord has blessed you with. Remember, it is not the size of your gift – but the heart motive that matters.
Oftentimes family gatherings are a flashpoint for tensions.
First of all - we likely don't have a perfect family - who does? It might be stressful to deal with an ex-spouse or ex-in-laws. Many people deal with new dynamics in a blended family. Things don’t always go as planned, so be sure to stay flexible and non-confrontational if possible. Extend grace to others. Don’t assume wrong motives. Allow extra time for yourself in order to avoid a melt-down in the middle of cooking, cleaning and socializing with your extended family. Ask others to help with food preparation, gift-wrapping, decorating and cleanup.
Give yourself permission to “let something go” that was on your to-do list without the guilt. Every year isn’t going to be a Norman Rockwell Christmas – and that is OKAY. Recognize that not everyone is going to want to do what you want to do at Christmastime. Give and take is essential with a large family as much as it is with a small one. Feelings will get hurt and toes will get stepped on. It’s OKAY. Focus on the major things and don’t fret over the minor things. Making memories that will last is honorable – but not at the expense of your sanity or your relationships.
Enjoy the journey. Keep your sanity by maintaining some boundaries. Get plenty of rest, eat right, and exercise to keep yourself healthy and mentally balanced. Slow down...
Remember – JESUS is the Reason for the Season. Everything else is just filler...
Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It was written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. Visit http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com
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