For some of you, family time is pretty tame. For others, it might feel like a sequel to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. There may be that one uncle who always gets drunk and says something inappropriate. Or the grandparent who always asks you why you’re still single at the dinner table. Dad might be checked out watching TV, or you might be going back and forth to try and please divorced parents equally.
No matter what your family situation is, we know it can be hard. Family can have a special way of getting under your skin and bringing out the worst in you. But God has given you more power than you think. Even though you can’t control what your family does this Christmas, you can control how you respond. You can’t change the family you were born into, but you can trust that God knows what He's doing. You can’t control whether or not they show you love and respect, but you can choose to believe God's love is enough for you. With the help of The Holy Spirit through prayer, choose this Christmas to be honest about what pains you and to love and respect your family despite the imperfections, believing that God put each of them in your life for a reason.
Read the following Scriptures and then answer the questions below.
Isaiah 55:9 - "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" [declares the Lord].
Romans 12:10 – Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Acts 17:26-27a – And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God.
Whom in your family may be hardest to love this year? How can you go out of your way to serve that person?
What do you think might hinder you from being God’s man or woman toward your family this Christmas?
We say often that “leaders go first.” How can you lead your family this Christmas by being an agent of change? (Pro-Tip: Resolve to handle conflict God's way this year. Instead of trying to change your family, draw a circle around yourself and change everything in it.)
Pray: God, thank you that your ways are higher than mine. Help me to appreciate the family you’ve given me, and to love them the way you do, whether or not I feel loved by them.