The holiday season is the happiest time of the year for a lot people. Many people love to go all out in decorating their homes. Some start playing Christmas music as soon as the first leaf falls off the tree. Some people love to shop and this time of year is their super bowl. For many, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
But for others it can be an extremely difficult time. There are those who have lost loved ones and are reminded of their absence during the holiday season. Some parents may live away from their children and the emptiness of the home can bring great sadness. Some children are vividly reminded that they don’t have the joy of a mommy or a daddy especially at this time of year. Some people will have their holiday ruined by arguments and family members not getting along.
Some of those things can not be completely relieved, but I want to make a couple suggestions for those who do not look forward to the holidays.
First, if the the holidays are full of sadness because of loneliness, may I suggest visiting the Church of Christ in Lafollette? This is a group of people that will make you feel warm and welcome and part of a family. It doesn’t matter if you or young or old, these people will love you and there will be no reason in the future to spend a holiday alone.
Second, if this time of year is miserable because you don’t get along with people in your family, consider taking the Bible’s approach to disagreements.
The Bible gives a three step plan for healing divisions. It doesn’t matter if it is between friends, family, coworkers, or the division in the religious world, the process is the same.
It begins with a desire to not be divided. Some people are addicted to drama. Social media has only made it worse for these people. Now they can go post their grievances and get support from a bunch of strangers that have no idea about context. These people do not have a desire to get a long with people. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Contrary to popular belief, this has nothing to do with police officers. This has to do with individuals that desire and try to make peace. Both with God, and with their fellow man.
The word’s of Jesus implies that we will have things in life that will bring conflict. Consider the fact that Jesus did not say “blessed are those who think they are right”. No, he said the people who desire to make peace are the ones who are going to be happy.
Not only must we desire to make peace, but we need to have the right attitude. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul makes a crescendo of an argument for the attitude necessary to fix divisions. In a word it is love. But it is clear in this passage, that he is not talking about love as a warm fuzzy feeling, rather he is talking about making the choice to love someone. Even if that person is not very likable at the moment.
He says if we want to have the right loving attitude we need to be patient, kind, not envy, not be arrogant, not be rude, not be self centered, not be easily irritable, not hold grudges (13:4-5). How many times have we prolonged a fight because we didn’t live up to this standard?
Then he says that we shouldn’t rejoice at wrong doing but rejoice in the truth(13:6). Which leads us to the third requirement for fixing divisions. There must be a standard. The standard must be the truth.
Jesus said that the truth will set us free from our sins (John 8:32). But the truth will also set us free from division (1 Cor 4:17).
There was no greater division than that of Jew and Gentile. Jesus’ death on the cross didn’t magically make these two groups get along. In fact, even years after the Gentiles were admitted into the church of Christ, the Judiazers were still bringing division. The solution for this problem was truth (Gal 2:14).
The Bible is the standard of truth for living. Making a stand from any other source is like a foolish man building his house upon the sand (Matt 7:24-27).
How much greater will your argument be if its based on a “thus says the Lord” accompanied by love, and a desire to be united together? And how much greater will the holidays be and the rest of your life if you use this approach for arguments? The blessings associated with it could not be quantified.
Some things are out of our control during the holiday season. But these are three things we can always try to bring to the table.