“Holidays can be fairly bloody”…a great quote from one of our favorite Christmas movies. Sadly, there can be some real truth to that statement. When our daughter was very young, she would refer to this time of year as the “holler days”. In many families, that can also hold true.
I do enjoy the holidays…I love the baking, the decorations, the traditions we have established, the gift buying and the anticipation of Christmas Day. But that joy can quickly be sucked into the vortex of unmet expectations…sometimes our own and maybe someone else’s. Often it can be the members of our extended family.
So as wives and moms who want to honor God, what do we do when we have expectations and obligations heaped upon us? What about that difficult relative that we have to spend time with?
First and foremost, I think it’s a priority to pray about what God would have you to do and talk with your husband about the way that you want to spend the holidays. What are your priorities as a family? Although we do not want to be selfish with our holiday time, we also need to preserve our own family core unit. We need to have time for our own traditions and enjoy part of that time together. If you have younger children, making sure that they are getting enough rest and aren’t being pushed to the point of sheer exhaustion is important. That goes for you too, Mom! The best way that we can really be engaged in the activities we ARE doing and honor God through them, is to guard our hearts and sometimes that means resting, taking time to process and refresh.
Secondly, pray that we will have the ability to be gracious with others. We all have family members that are difficult to get along with, maybe thoughtless, even rude. I was thinking about this the other day and praying for wisdom as to how we might have grace toward people like this and I was led to Psalm 25. I encourage you to read the entire chapter, but David is crying out to the Lord for guidance. ”He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way”. I need to humble myself and remember that I have been saved by grace alone. And though I sometimes feel like others are “worse” than me, it’s the same grace that saves each one of us. Jesus loved me while I was still a sinner. I had nothing to offer him, but he offered himself in my place. If the Son of God would humble himself in that way for me, I certainly can do this for that difficult person. Maybe for no other reason than out of gratitude to God for saving me.
Another thing that can be very helpful is to think about what that difficult person has taught you. Even if what he/she has taught you is what NOT to do, say, etc., that is a blessing. It’s something to bear in mind and be thankful to God for and the spirit that comes with a thankful heart can be a way for God to pour out His grace through you.
Lastly, never forget that our first purpose is to honor and glorify God. May your heart be able to rest in Him throughout this busy time of year and find complete and utter joy in the fact that Jesus is “Emmanuel”… God WITH us. He is right here walking with us, not expecting perfection, just wanting to fellowship…we are His. We welcome you Lord Jesus!
“We will keep our eyes on you
We will keep our eyes on you
So we can keep our hearts on You
Lord, we will set our eyes on You”
-A Mighty Fortress is Our God