Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas

Devotional

Peace Despite a Dysfunctional Christmas  


Peace, joy, and … family dysfunction? 


Does the thought of Christmas dinner accelerate your pulse? Does it feel ironic to celebrate the Prince of Peace in the middle of such turmoil? And yet, Christ can bring harmony and wholeness to any situation. 


Christ’s peace, poured into us because of our love for Him, goes deeper than any temporary stressors. The deeper we press into and surrender to Him, and the more our thoughts align with His, the deeper our peace. 


When you feel your self-control—your very sanity—slipping, you can remember this: God is sovereign. 


He knows how crazy your Christmas will be, but He also knows how it will end. He knows what’ll happen in everyone’s hearts and minds, even decades later. Even in the mess, perhaps especially in the mess, He’s working out His plans and longs to shine His love and grace through you. 


In every conflict, there’s a battle, then there’s The Battle. Every situation boils down to a simple truth: One’s heart is either far from God or being led and transformed by Him (Romans 8:5-8). Recognizing this provides wisdom for every interaction. 


And understand: It’s God’s job, not ours, to change others. 


We’re to love and gently share truth. But Aunt Bertha’s sobriety, Uncle Tim’s views, and your sister’s behavior aren’t your responsibility. Nor is your children’s salvation. Yes, you are to teach them truth, but only God can make that truth stick. Realizing and resting in that frees us to express ourselves calmly and with love, demonstrating wisdom that is pure, peaceful, and gentle. Instead of becoming defensive, withdrawn, or reactive.


And when our patience falters and frustrations mount, it’s okay to step away. To take time to pray and get “powered up” by the Holy Spirit. Because ultimately, He is alone our source of peace. 


The holidays can be a wonderful, festive, stressful, difficult time, but in Christ, we have the power to grab hold of peace, no matter how dysfunctional dinner conversation becomes.  


~Jennifer Slattery