by J. Randal Matheny
The jingle bells are ringing, and though I’ve yet to see a sleigh swish by me, the Christmas holidays are fast approaching.
Why not make this the best Christmas ever, by preparing for special moments with family and friends?
Here are three ideas how we can do that.
1. Clear the past.
For all his faults, Esau’s reaction upon meeting up with Jacob after so many years of separation is one of the most precious in all Scripture. The last time they had parted, Jacob ran for his life after his brother threatened to kill him. The night before their reunion, Jacob, terrified at the prospect of meeting again, spent the night in agonizing prayer and struggle.
When the moment came, no words were needed. “But Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, hugged his neck, and kissed him. Then they both wept” (Genesis 33:4 NET).
Forgiveness and reconciliation are so easy, so wonderful, so joyful, we wondered why we didn’t do this years ago. But all things have their moment.
Make this Christmas that moment for you, if need be. Let the past be forgotten so you can cherish your family.
2. Enjoy the present.
Christmas can be a stressful time. Travel, decoration, present-buying, visits, meal preparation, extra expenses and more all add up to change our schedules and turn good humor to bad mood. Psychologists say the holidays cause a spike in the number of cases of depression.
The issue here is perspective. Focus on people, not things. Be a chatty Mary, not a busy Martha. Instead of going all out on the tree and table trimmings, take time for loved ones.
Talk about deep things. Share your faith. Celebrate God’s blessings together. Recount the history of his presence in your life.
3. Arm the future.
Writers and speakers have emphasized making memories for family. More than memories, make windows for future growth with family and friends.
Use the time now to improve opportunities later. Send a two-minute email. Make a five-minute phone call. Do something no one else does: send a card by snail mail.
Make plans together. Work out holidays to spend with others. Save up for a special deal on flights.
You can make it happen.
With nuclear and extended family often scattered across a country or even the world, we have to put out more effort and even funds to make it happen. But we do have the tools, usually, to bring our loved ones together.
Christmas is a time for family and friends. Let’s make sure that time is spent as it should be.
by J. Randal Matheny