Go Where the Love Is
My son created a Thanksgiving Tree a couple of years ago in art class for the holiday. It was lovely. We created all the things we are thankful for and put each of them gently on the branches. Family and Friends are always the top of the list. While we truly try to be thankful year round, around this time of year, one can’t help but be even more thankful…or can we? Sometimes, the reality is it’s hard to be thankful. Especially when people are hurting.
Over the years, Thanksgiving has appeared to be more of a chore for some. A checkbox if you will. A visit out of obligation. Where did we go wrong? How could this happen? Holidays are supposed to be a festive time for family gatherings, but oftentimes, end up bringing up unique challenges. (particularly during a heated election season) Family dynamics and relationships can bring both joy…and pain. Even when it’s difficult, we must love those around us because God loved us first. This certainly doesn’t make it easy, so outlined below, are a few ways to help you find this holiday season more peaceful in what might not be a peaceful environment:
- First Things First – How often do you engage in heated debates about politics? (particularly this year) Family members know you well and know your passions and know which buttons to push. Oftentimes, they do just that. Before you react, do you want to be known as someone who is passionate about politics or passionate about Jesus? Are you known for being a die-hard democrat or are you known for being a Christian? Keep first things first.
- Bless and Release – Absorb the insults, then release them. It hurts to hear loved ones speak hurtful words. When someone we love says something that hurts, our immediate response is to counter. There are certainly times to stand up for yourself, but more times than not, a simple Bless and Release action will suffice. Empowering the Christlike choice to absorb with grace diffuses the situation and removes power from the enemy.
- Love Those Who Hurt You – This is a hard one. Those who are closest to us have the ability to hurt us the most and likewise, us them. Where love and closeness exist, there is capacity to hurt others and to be hurt. Everyone is human, therefore sin will exist. The Christlike response to those who hurt us is to turn to love. LOVE one another. Drop the bitterness and intentionally pray for and love them. (Matthew 5:44)
- Be a Blessing – What are some ways you can be the light and blessing for those hurting you or hurting? Oftentimes, what we need more than anything is a prayerful heart check. Seek the joy and the good of others.
It’s so much harder to hope.
It’s so much harder to believe.
It’s so much harder to keep faith.
It’s so much harder to create.
So this holiday, go where the love is. It might be with your immediate family or it might be with those friends you’ve chosen as family. Where ever you go, follow the love and bring even more love with you.
To more love,