Home Christian Lifestyle SEVEN SUGGESTIONS FOR DELIGHTFUL VS DEPRESSING HOLIDAY GATHERINGS by Larry Tomczak

SEVEN SUGGESTIONS FOR DELIGHTFUL VS DEPRESSING HOLIDAY GATHERINGS by Larry Tomczak

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Let’s be honest, your upcoming holiday get-togethers have potential for wonderful memory-making or some weird occurrences that’ll make you wonder how you ever got into such a mess! God may have some surprises ahead with a cantankerous uncle, curmudgeon senior or an unexpected boy/girlfriend with uber-liberal political views gleaned from Michael Moore or Rachel Maddow.

Scripture tells us, “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Prv.22:3). Pressure reveals the person so this may be your providential “heads up” so you’re prepared.

My earliest memories as a child of our extended family gatherings during the holidays remain indelibly etched on the photographic plates of my heart. The annual celebrations 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.

In more recent decades, I must admit I have some recollections that my wife and I wish we could erase. Unexpected conflict that arose was most unwelcome but enables me to share some insights learned  as we transition to this holiday season.

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.”

Having Holiday Harmony

The Bible instructs us, “Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1Pet.2:7). Let’s not give too much credit to the enemy of our soul but let’s face the fact that he has clever schemes ready to undermine God’s beautiful plans.

To be forewarned is to be for forearmed!

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 “deliver you from the evil one” when you come together.

2. Serve

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” (Jn.12:15,17). Invest in those present by possibly helping with the dishes, clean up or engaging a fussy, hyperactive child.

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