One Christmas song invites us to go home to be with our family for Christmas because it is the best place in the world. We can’t wait to get there. It goes, “There’s no place like home for the holidays…”
This idealistic phantom family lives in Christmas songs but rarely is it seen in real life. In most homes during Christmas, many have ambivalent feelings. Deep within, we want to be with family on Christmas day, but we also know this encounter has the potential for conflict, rejection and pain.
So how do we prepare to meet our family during the holidays? First, make sure before we pack our bags for the trip, we unpack the baggage in our hearts. The best way to do that is to squarely face the hurts inflicted upon us by anyone we will encounter. To do so, go to your Abba and ask Him to remind you of all the things this person has done to you. While still in prayer, ask Him to show you how that event made you feel. Next, pray, “Father, you forgave me through your Son, Jesus Christ, when I did not deserve it. This person did __________ to me and it made me feel _________. This person does not deserve to be forgiven, but in Christ, my identity is that I am a “forgiver” and I have the Great Forgiver living in me. So, by faith I choose right now to forgive that person whether I feel like it or not.” Before you leave that prayer time, take responsibility for your sin of resentment towards that person and confess it to the Lord. Jesus died for your sin of resentment so you can thank Him for forgiving you or ask Him to forgive you. Our Abba’s forgiveness is one of our blessings in Christ! (Ephesians 1:7)
The next preparation you will need to commit yourself to is to pray and tell your Father that you give up the right not to be hurt by this person again. In essence, you are telling God that you are trusting Him to be in control. We see this kind of trust in Jesus life in Philippians 2. (If you have been abused, this does not mean God approves of that or that you should allow it again.)
Finally, and foremost, ask Jesus Christ to live His life through you to love the people you will be around during that time. What would happen if you went to all of your holiday gatherings with the attitude that you are showing up to love these people instead of showing up to get them to love you! Jesus says to us, Without Me, you can do nothing!” John 15:5. Depend on Him to live and love through you, including those who may not seem lovable. You cannot determine how they will respond, but that is not your responsibility. However, we are responsible to love people (Romans 13:8).
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