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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How To Survive The Holidays

By Jeff Archey


“He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:4-7).

Through God our Father, we see the value of parental wisdom. His word speaks unto us as His children and we know He loves us (1 John 4:19; John 3:16; Hebrews 12:5-11). We are able to grow in knowledge—the learning and the wisdom—the “how to” in order to adapt and apply. He has given us “…all things that pertain to life and godliness…” and “…exceeding great and precious promises…” that we can partake of (2 Peter 1:3).


Of course, the title of this article is quite strange at first glance, but in reality there are those that just wish to “get through” this holiday season. This is a time of year where folks generally seem happier and peaceful, but, it is not the case for some. Let us consider some of the “how to” God’s Word grants us in dealing with the following.

“HOW DO YOU PUT UP WITH PEOPLE THAT ARE HARD TO PUT UP WITH?”

Families vary…some relatives you love to be around, some you don’t because of faith, life in general or common interests. Some family you never hear from during the year, but at the holidays it is like you’ve “just got” to get together with them…and you wonder what the fuss is? And, we come away from family gatherings aggravated and frustrated. What to do?

1. Shine as a Christian regardless where we are and remember our light must shine (Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:16), so keep the proper example.
2. Set differences aside. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. Chances are they're feeling the effects of being around you, too.
3. Schedule minimum time. If things are such a struggle, do only as much as you can. Grant a minimum amount of time or “make an appearance” and move on.
4. Simply refuse. Yes, this is difficult, but consider 1 Corinthians 15:33 and 2 Corinthians 6:14. This may be the choice that aims towards reconciliation. There may be those times that you have to simply refuse an invitation due to its nature. Always do so firmly, but gracefully.

“HOW DO YOU HAVE ANY JOY IN A HOLIDAY WHEN YOU ARE MISSING SOMEONE YOU LOVE?”

This is probably the number one challenge with this time of year. I think of families whose loved ones are away in Iraq or Afghanistan and of course there are those who have lost a loved one in the past year. I recall an article about a lady who went through a divorce earlier in the year and when she got out her ornaments and decorations, she broke down uncontrollably because the happy memories of her husband and what they did each year at this time came to mind. What to do?

1. “Abba, Father…” Think of the prayer of our Lord in the garden (Mark 14:32-42) and how He poured out Himself with such agony! We, too, must pour out the heart in fervent, ardent prayer to our Father and cry unto him as His child. God will provide and this day will pass, too.
2. Allow the time to remember those that are away from you. I recall a beautiful story of three grand-daughters who would always receive a box of covered cherries each from their grandmother. After their grandmother passed, I encouraged them to purchase a box of cherries each year and find the time to sit down, enjoy the cherries and think and talk of their grandmother. Sure, tears come, but smiles follow! Rainbows will follow rain.
3. Acknowledge what the one you miss would want you to do. Of course, they would want you to make the best of your holiday.
4. Afford yourself the opportunity to enjoy the moment with something new…or start a new “tradition.” Some find travel helpful; some spend time with friends that they see more than family. Whatever it might be, a new door of opportunity will open for you.

- via the Lake Hills Letter, weekly bulletin of the Lake Hills church of Christ in Chattanooga, TN. Shane Robinson, preaches for the congregation, and he may be contacted at shane@lakehillschurchofchrist.org or through their website at http://www.lakehillschurchofchrist.org/

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