Seeing & Seizing the Relationship Potential of the Holidays

November 22nd, 2010 by azweddingpastors Leave a reply »

As a young adult I spent 11 months doing missionary work in the Philippines. When I came back to the USA after that time abroad I had a fresh appreciation for this amazing nation where I grew up. Though America is currently facing some tough economic times we are privileged to have a rich cultural heritage that observes two profound holidays. The Holidays-Thanksgiving and Christmas-present each of us with a remarkable opportunity to intentionally invest in our most valued relationships if we can keep the priority of those connections clearly in view.
A couple of months ago, while speaking as guest speaker at Desert Cross Community Church, I presented a message titled “Live Like You Were Dying”. In that talk I made the point that each of us have an unpublished expiration date which will come sooner than we think and that wise people intentionally invest in what matters most while they can. What if this is your last Holiday Season with someone you deeply love? Would it change your priorities if you knew that this Thanksgiving or Christmas was the last time you’d get to share the Holiday with your Dad or Mom or your spouse? As you gather with loved ones this Holiday season be sure to take time to enjoy one another. Ask meaningful questions and listen to what’s said. Express your love while you can!
Pushing Back Against the Culture
Our western culture moves very fast and bombards us with so much information that it’s easy to become distracted and to lose our focus on what has lasting value. The shopping, cooking and holiday parties on top of an already maxed-out schedule is a recipe for STRESS! As we enter this holiday season be careful not to over-commit. If this was your last Holiday season I’m certain that you would want to spend quality time with your family intentionally focusing on your deepest values. Do your children/ grand-children understand the meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas? If you are intentional about this Holiday season you could impact your family by creatively communicating the reason for the season. Don’t assume the young people you’re with over the Holidays understand the reason for the season. The other day I heard of an elementary school worksheet that emphasized that the Pilgrims came to America so they could “own their own land”. Property rights and the pursuit of happiness were secondary motivators for the brave Pilgrims but their core value was the quest for religious freedom. If your children don’t hear that from you they probably won’t hear it at all!
What you DO speaks more clearly than what you SAY
Jesus teaching about faith cuts through the fog of moral relativism and provides action-oriented priorities that guide our actions. He said that what really mattered is to “…. love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) As your family gathers for Thanksgiving why not model your love for God by facilitating a conversation where those present could share what they are thankful for? You don’t have to look far to find someone whose hurting these days. Think of the positive impact that your family could both make and experience if you led them to serve others who were hurting this Holiday season.
Go Make A Difference
For some of us the Holidays are emotionally overwhelming. If that describes you consider the following: A famous psychologist was once presenting a talk on mental health and after speaking opened up the floor for questions. This individual had been very involved in developing techniques for psycho-therapy and many of the questions revolved around his research. Someone in the audience, knowing the Doctor’s passion for psychotherapy asked, “Doctor, what advice would you give to someone who thought they were on the verge of a nervous breakdown?” Everyone was expecting this question to be a platform for the Doctor to focus on the benefits of counseling and psycho-therapy. But his answer took them all by surprise. “If I thought someone was on the verge of a nervous breakdown my advice to them would be to get up out of their house, go across the tracks, and find somebody who needs your help. That is the best prescription for mental health.”
Praying that this Holiday season finds you thinking clearly and acting intentionally!

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