Christmas – A Time for Giving . . . and Forgiving

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12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Aside from an outright catastrophe, nothing can spoil a family celebration more than holding a grudge against another family member. How many times has it happened that someone in the family was upset over something said, done or not done so that a sort of grey fog hung over the whole family during a time that should have been one of celebration and joy?   A family lives in a goldfish bowl of sorts.  This makes it all the more important for us to keep our relationships with one another on an even keel. 

I grant you that the Apostle Paul was writing to a church family in this portion of scripture but the admonition is just as valid in the blood relationship family.  The Christmas holiday season comes with a lot of pressure on every member of the family and this makes it a prime time for misunderstandings and even outright acts that fracture relationships.  The key to this ability to forgive grievances and help bear another’s burden is found in the last sentence of verse 13, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Think on that phrase for a little while.  How much has the Lord forgiven you?  If anyone had a right to hold a grievance against anyone it would be the Lord Himself.  Umm, we just are not perfect, are we?  Let’s practice God’s pattern of forgiveness in all our relationships this Christmas season, and yes, all the rest of the time as well.

Why not begin each day by making sure we are in harmony with God and with each other.  It has been said that we should not let the sun go down on our wrath/anger so perhaps it should start for us at the end of the day as well.  The Christmas season can be very stressful for a multitude of reasons. Let’s make sure we are not part of the stress.  Ask God to help you to bear with others and forgive them as God has forgiven you.  May the Spirit of peace and joy be yours during these days!

 

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