Your upcoming holiday get-togethers have potential for wonderful memory-making. God may have some surprises ahead, but here are seven suggestions to help make your celebrations delightful.
My earliest memories as a child of our extended family gatherings with my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins were the highlight of the year! It was not just the opportunity to receive gifts and partake of sumptuous delights, but I loved the festive atmosphere and joyful interaction with our extended family.
God’s will is that we experience happiness and unity in our times together. Our unseen adversary plots to undermine this goal. Here are some time-tested tips that can help you and yours enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year.”
1. Start with prayer
This may seem obvious but it’s often overlooked. Prior to the upcoming family get together, pray for God’s favor and discernment so He can bring a blessing when you come together.
Be intentional to embrace the heart of a servant rather than a spectator and mere consumer. When Jesus gathered for His Last Supper with His friends, He washed their feet and reminded us, “I have given you an example” and “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:15-17). Invest in those present by possibly helping with the dishes, clean up or engaging with their children.
3. Ask Questions
Scripture teaches that “the purpose in a man’s heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5). Accept people as they are and take a genuine interest in their lives. Imitate Jesus who would be in the temple among teachers “listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46).
4. Be Comfortable with Silence
No need to keep the motor running when there are pauses in conversations. “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17:28).
5. Avoid Arguments
“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone…”
(2 Timothy 2:24). Stimulating conversations can quickly take a wrong turn necessitating someone to skillfully redirect the flow. “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14).
6. Reach out
In getting ready for our bountiful feasts, do we do as Jesus instructed? When a man prepared a supper and some invited guests didn’t come, Jesus said he should include the less fortunate and “bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:21).
Watching the seventh game of the World Series recently, I invited a grieving man whose wife died a year ago. On a somewhat regular basis, my wife and I have reached out to invite people who would be alone for holiday events. These can also be wonderful opportunities for sharing the love of God to those in need.
7. Show Understanding
For those of us who are used to simply plopping down for lavish gourmet offerings during the holidays, we may not be aware of how much time and effort goes into the culinary spread. Our hosts literally invest days in planning and preparation for the special occasion.
It sure doesn’t honor them or help them maintain composure when hungry participants add stress with annoying inquiries or failure to come when called.
Think how much tension can be eradicated by following God’s wisdom: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Ninety-nine percent of our stress-inducers can vanish by putting this verse into practice. Be proactive and meditate upon this verse before you attend.
Our Lord Jesus, the Centerpiece of our upcoming holiday gatherings, proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
Let’s all embrace this high calling in our upcoming holiday events.
From Larry Tomczak, best selling best-selling author of nine books, including a quarter-million bestseller, with 43 years of trusted ministry experience.
Reprinted with Permission by ChurchGrowth.org, CLICK HERE to subscribe for FREE
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