Friday, December 16, 2011

Swamped by Christmas?

Hi, friends,

As always, I've been mixing with folks a lot lately. No doubt, you have, too.

It’s seems everywhere I turn, I’m hearing the same lament about the Christmas season. Instead of celebrating, there’s a lot of holiday groaning going on. And here’s the big reason. Bringing families together is complicated now. Just being in the same room, or sharing a meal can cause old hurts to surface, painful wounds to fester again, and ugly thoughts to affect the relationships we’d hoped would have healed by now. But they haven’t. And now we must face those people again.

Or not.

What happens when we postpone dealing with offenses either given or received within the family? The gap in our relationships grows wider, deeper, and more impossible to bridge. Think of it. At the time when we should all be happiest, grumbling and buried anger rise like gas bubbles in a swamp. Is that happening in your family, too? You are not unusual.

What relief? Look outside your circumstances, way outside. Look into Heaven for a new perspective. Christmas is God bearing gifts for you and me. Gifts of peace and love, forgiveness and mercy, truth and righteousness. The great gift of His Son Jesus being born into this messed up, sinful world, offers the promise of new life in Christ, real life that begins with the radical step of being sorry. Confessing our sins to God and those we’ve hurt (or wanted to hurt) is the only place to start. Ask God for forgiveness, for yourself and for those who have hurt you. While you’re at it, ask for grace to love that person like He does. It takes a miracle, believe me. Now, leave the outcome to God and His mercy. Take your place in the family as a quiet agent of His love. Give gifts of peace and forgiveness like God does to the undeserving, to the ones who need Him most. And while you’re at it, thank God for loving you enough to send Jesus in the first place. He died for you and me on the cross, forgave our cesspool of sin, and cleansed us with Living water through the Word of God.

Now, that’s worth celebrating!

Have a great Christmas, dear friends, spreading the love of Christ everywhere you go.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32

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