Christmas: Here's to a Peaceful Family Celebration
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"For the sake of my family and friends...Peace be within you." Psalm 122:8 // NIV
'For the sake of my family and friends...Peace be within you.'
Whenever we get together with family over the holidays, we all bring something to the proverbial table. Yes, you may bring gifts or your favorite pie to share, but we all bring so much more than just food for the celebration. We may bring a deep, abiding care for our loved ones, and high hopes for a 'perfect' holiday. However, sometimes we shed our commonality and bring other things to the table that, if left unchecked, can derail even the finest holiday. These things can cause lasting resentments and strained family relationships. Truth is, things are never really perfect, especially in relationships, because we are all human, and people can be challenging at times.
Barriers to Family Peace
Difficult childhood memories. Grudges. Divergent religious and political views. Unrealistic expectations. Negativity. Anyone of these can easily be detrimental to the pursuit of an enjoyable, peaceful family celebration. Unfortunately, despite all the preparation and festivities, sometimes people may still choose to disagree on a variety of topics and use that day to 'share' or defend their disparate views, or insist on getting the final word. We've all heard of families that have experienced arguments and conflict over Christmas dinner as those in attendance engage in heated conversation about various and sundry things. But there is a better way...
The Secret: Peace Be Within You
Clearly, as Christians, we all must do our part to make our family gatherings peaceful and enjoyable for all that are there. Each of us is responsible for our own behavior and happiness. Some may even find themselves in the role of peacekeepers -- a valuable role in any family -- striving to 'keep peace' and focus on family unity rather than strife. If you know your Christmas family gathering has the potential to be challenging, try to embrace these Bible passages and let them be your guide:
1) "For the sake of my family and friends... Peace be within you." Psalm 122:8//NIV
2) "...Rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11 / NIV
3) "Love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10 // NIV
4) "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." John 15:12 //NIV
5) 8 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think [and speak] about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." // Philippians 4:8-10
For many people, prayerfully preparing before you go to celebrate Christmas with your family is helpful. Such preparation can go a long way in setting the tone for promoting and maintaining good relationships and living in harmony, unity and peace with your loved ones. Pray and ask God for help before you go. You may be surprised at what transpires!
"Peace be within you." Psalm 122:8 // NIV
Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, ABDA is an author of 3 books including "From Broken to Blest: Embracing the Healing that Awaits You," written with Dr. Verna Benner Carson. From Broken to Blest is now available on Amazon and Barnes at Noble in print, Nook & Kindle versions. Please click on this link: https://amzn.to/2pNt9Sk
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