There is nothing like family to kick off the festive spirit.
At family night tonight the children lit the first advent candle that signifies hope.
In the catholic church there is a tradition of four advent candles which are lit every Sunday in December and then a white candle lit on Christmas day to represent the birth of Christ.
The nativity story is one birthed in family and friendship also.
Elizabeth and Mary were cousins who were so delighted when they each discovered they were pregnant and were to give birth to children close by each other.
The power of family.
I love the African proverb that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’
The bible speaks of the family that Jesus grew up with, brothers, sisters, cousins.
Christmas and family can be not enjoyable for some people.
Their perspective is not one of peace. It’s compromise, arguments and unmet expectations.
Do you struggle with family at Christmas?
It’s okay. It is really normal. Maybe find ways to combat your reactions and stress by lowering your expectations and preparing yourself accordingly.
If you always argue with your brother, counteract it by arranging something kind to do for him with no expectation of returning the favor.
If you are offended by little comments your mum always makes, remind yourself that offense is actually a choice, and you can choose to not take on the negativity or listen to the judgements.
If one uncle always gets drunk and then starts to annoy you, decide to leave before that part of the day ensues.
Prepare yourself for the interactions and find ways to cope effectively.
Code words between partners.
Arrange another outing to have a leaving time.
Decide what’s right for your family and stick to it.
Family is beautiful but can also be complex.
Take time this Christmas to find a fresh perspective on this story in your plot line.
Mary and Elizabeth had every chance to be jealous, competitive and offended. Elizabeth had waited years to be a mum, Mary wasn’t even married.
This doesn’t stop them from celebrating one another’s seasons and embracing one another fervently.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
What an amazing way to embrace her ‘single and pregnant’ relative. When many would despise her.
Family is never easy at Christmas but we all have a choice in the way we respond to each situation. With grace or judgement.
Choose grace this Christmas.