Phil 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
Six ideas to keep in perspective while dealing with the stress and trials of the Christmas season
1) Look for the positives: Often the holidays force us to deal with family. Inevitably, family in close quarters can present some "challenges". Remember to focus on whatever positives you can find throughout the season. LOOK for them. Don't passively wait for it to be gift wrapped and handed to you.... (Phil 4:8)
2) Appreciate the little things: Oftentimes the holidays lead to comparison and competition. We want to make this Christmas "the BEST Christmas EVER!" This sounds good in theory but can be a constant source of stress and depression as one thing or another doesn't turn out as magnificent as it played out in our mind's eye. Nothing wrong with the grandiose, but I want to live in acceptance not bloated expectation.
3) Be Quick to apologize: Let's face it, it takes two to tango, not every argument is someone else's fault. We play our part too. Take responsibility for your actions. Seek forgiveness early and often. Nothing like a contrite spirit to break down walls.
4) Remember we are a team: (This is more for the married folks...) Two have become one flesh. As you deal with in-laws and her side of the family vs. his side of the family, remember that what God has brought together, no one can separate. So we should act like it. Take your spouse's side first and ask for clarity later. Decide as a unit how you both see the holidays playing out. Come to a consensus and then create the boundaries and environment to do that to the best of your abilities.
5) Keep the Focus: Jesus is the reason for the season... Yes, it sounds cliche, but it is also deeply TRUE. Keep this at the center of the Christmas season. Kids should enjoy their gifts (not going there on the Santa debate, do or don't...your call) but you should read them the Advent Story... You read it to them; sing it together; have Them read it; sacrifice and attend the church services offered. My wife and I have had a really fun time coming up with traditions our family does that remind us how God loved us 2000 years ago.
6) Look for redemption in disappointments: It IS there, usually in hindsight, but this is how we grow. So let's look for positives to keep our mind engaged. When the stuff happens (and it will), keep James 1:2-4 in mind. Hold on to that Joy...
....Behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord....
Aush Chatman is a friend, former Naval officer, CrossFit Instructor and member of our 4Streams Partners / West Coast outpost in San Diego, CA