I Am Baker

Family Holiday Gatherings: A Biblical Perspective

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Having hubby home, the spirit behind the seasons, the amazing food… its all enough to make me dream about these holidays for weeks before hand.

But there is another side to gatherings, one that can be sometimes stressful.

The truth is sometimes we just dont get along.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I deal with family.  Sometimes I look for the negative and not the positive in the people I love.  Sometimes I react to them in defensiveness based on my own issues, not on what they have actually said.  Sadly, its been easier for me to be in a pattern of critical thinking during those long holiday gatherings.

I forget how impactful the words I say are, and how lasting their impression is.  Even if what I am saying is not a true reflection of my heart, but simply an indication of a sour emotions or a bad attitude.

I came across these verses and I believe they have a direct correlation to how I can choose to think about extended time with family.

1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

For the Scriptures say,  “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it…”

I love that part, “search for peace”.  What if I looked for good in others?  On purpose?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NLT

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

This is Paul talking to the Corinthians.  One interpretation I heard of this message was that he was saying to them, “I am not here to listen to the gossip or the quarrels.  I am not focusing on this things of this world, I only want to focus on Jesus.”

I can only imagine the changes that others would see in me if my focus was truly on Him!  If I did not get caught up in strife, yet set my focus to the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

One observation that I have noticed is that the deeper you love someone, the more vulnerable we are to feeling hurt.  I dont know about you, but I have heard words from family or close friends that cut like a knife.  Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact.

I know that those people love me,  and want the best for me, but I cant help but be torn up at how painful their sharp words are.  The above verse speaks to that so acutely for me.  I know I would want my family to forgive me when I say things I shouldnt, and here God is telling us that it is wise to do this right away!  Dont let things fester and turn into bitterness.  Forgive and let go.

Here are a few more versus that can help a troubled heart:

1 John 4:19-21 ESV

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

From the OpenBible.info.

 Heavenly Father,

I pray that your holy words will be permanently cemented into my heart.  That I will look for the good in others always.  That I will seek positive and loving words when speaking.  That I will honor you with my thoughts and actions.

Lord, please bless my family and our time together.  Help me to overlook things that may hurt, and to forgive as readily as You forgive me.  Help me to be an example of Your peace and love.  Help me to love others as You love them.

Thank you for this wonderful time we have together, where we can celebrate the birth and life of your Son.

In Your precious name I pray!

Amen.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Amanda,
    I am so glad you shared this. I myself did not grow up in a religious family. I got baptized on my own accord at 21 and haven’t looked back. My fiance & I are very devout and we intend on raising our family as such. So, when I look at someone like you, a devout Christian, I assume your family is perfect. See, I didn’t grow up with faith, so I assume that everyone who did had a perfect family. Does that make sense? It’s so assuring for me to hear that families with faith still have problems, too. I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m delighting in your pain, because I am definitely not! I am using it as hope. It helps me forgive my past upbringing because I’ve been blaming them for years–saying, if we went to church as a family, things wouldn’t have been be so bad! But, I need to forgive and move on. And also, when my new faithful family hits bumps in the road, which I know it will, it’s peaceful to know it’s normal.
    So, thank you thank you thank you for sharing this :)
    You’re in my prayers xoxo

    Christina

    • says

      Sweet Christina… I love getting to know about your testimony! How wonderful and powerful it is. And what a blessing to know that you were SO chosen by God that a midst every obstacle telling you that you should NOT become a believer, you did anyway! I pray that your holidays are a blessing to you and that you are a blessing to any non-believers around you! Much love~

  2. says

    I cannot tell you how much I needed this today. So much of this resonated with me and just reading the Scripture you shared brought this amazing sense of peace to me today. You are such a beautiful soul for sharing this!

    • says

      The thought that God could be working on both our hearts through His word brings me such joy Cassie! Thank you for being such a faithful friend and servant to our King. Love to you!

  3. says

    Beautifully put Amanda. The part where you said, ‘words from family or close friends that cut like a knife. Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact’ really resonated with me. It’s amazing how much more hurtful things are coming from the ones you love. I’ll admit to that those awful words stay inside of my head a lot longer than the sweet and loving words that loved ones say to me 5 times as much. I hate that I’m silly and focus on the negatives like that, when those are things we should just fluff off and focus on the good. I’m going to try really hard to focus on the good in family and friends this year. I guess it’s like we learned in grade school, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. :D

    • says

      I know! As many times as we have heard that message, you’d think it would be learned by now right? :) I do the exact same thing… I ponder comments made to me a week, a month, a year, 5 years ago. Still letting them take up the root of bitterness and anger. I love that saying, “Unforgiveness is like swallowing poising and waiting for the other person to die.” Its so true! I dont think you are silly for focusing on negatives… because then I would have to label myself silly as well! But I do hope that someday we can let those things go, and focus on the beauty and Truth that God offers. That we can believe in who GOD says we are! Be blessed dear friend!

  4. says

    Amanda, thank you so much for this beautiful post. In this day and age, it’s so awesome to see a fellow blogger sharing the Word and Jesus’ Love for all of us. You are truly inspiring. As a faith-filled blogger, wife and mother, I pray we all share the wonderful Love of God with others every single day. Blessings to you and your loved ones this wonderful Christmas season!

  5. says

    I love this post Amanda! Thank you, you are so right, we often forget what a powerful weapon our tongues can be and once those words have been said, there is no taking them back – all of the apologies in the world cannot unsay them. A speaker once used the demonstration of squeezing toothpaste out of the tube – you cannot put it back – and no matter what we do we cannot take words we speak back. Yes there is forgiveness but if we control our tongues to begin with, we would have less apologies to make.
    I love your blog and have been a fan for over a year. Keep up the great work.

  6. Annie Chellah Theogaraj says

    Hi Amanda,

    Wish you and your beautiful family a happy new year. I came to know about your blog from Ria’s. Was surprised to know that you are a Christian. What a glory to God.

    Today I was going through this particular post. I wish I had read it last month itself as I had the same problems this year with my bro’s family and in-laws…

    I thank God you had written this, even I was thinking that I’m such an abnormal person who couldn’t forgive and get along. But then it’s all human. It’s not an excuse anyways, we need to give heed to what the Bible says.

    Btw I’m a big fan of your blog. God bless you for all the good deeds you do.

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