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Avoiding Family Conflicts this Christmas

Every family desires a joyful and peaceful Christmas celebration.  After all, one of the promises of Christ’s coming was that He would bring peace.  Unfortunately, though, many family get-togethers are anything but harmonious.   Often, blowups, arguments and hurtful words stain the most well planned holiday family reunions.  How can we make sure that this Christmas is quarrel free?  Here are a few tips to help you navigate difficult family members and friends this Christmas season:

  • Leave your differences at the door

Not all families think, live and talk alike.  Very possibly you have an uncle, a cousin or even a sibling whose values and motives are different than yours.  Your relative may belong to a different political party, go to an unusual church or even live an alternative lifestyle.   Be assured that you are not going to change their way of thinking or living over Christmas dinner.

Please do not misinterpret what I am saying.  I am not saying that we condone those things that are not biblical.  But, disagreeing with another’s opinions or lifestyle does not necessitate that we vocalize our dissimilarity.  Jesus had a unique ability to eat and fellowship with those with whom He disagreed.  Why, the Bible says that He ate with publicans and sinners.  He was able to love them, converse with them and enjoy being with them even though they were polar opposites of who He was.  Why can’t we do the same thing?

  • Demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24)

How would our Christmas get-togethers change if we allowed the Holy Spirit to evidence His power through us?  Let me remind you that the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace.  Those sound like words that are frequently used to describe this time of the year.  Patience is an attribute that is often needed in situations like those mentioned earlier.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you divine, miraculous patience with those hard-to-get-along with family members.   Kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness are Christ-like attributes.  Self-control is something that all of us of need.

Unfortunately, during the Christmas season the Holy Spirit is often neglected, and quite frankly grieved by our actions and attitudes.  Let’s make this Christmas different.  Let’s welcome Him to our family get-togethers and allow Him to control our actions and attitudes.

  • Pray in advance

Often, Christmas is such a busy time of year that we fail to pray.  Let me challenge you to set aside some time before Christmas to pray for each of your family members.  Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” That would most certainly include our Christmas family celebrations.  Pray that God uses you to be a blessing and an encouragement.  Pray that there is a spirit of unity, harmony and love when your family gets together.  Ask God to use your attitudes and actions to accomplish what your words cannot accomplish:  to change hearts.  Ask the Lord to make this Christmas the most harmonious one that you have ever experienced.

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