It Forces Me to Spend Time with Family

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
John 15:12 (NLT)

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need…
Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

If all those Hallmark commercials are to be believed, Christmas is all about family… sitting around an elegant tree, in front of a fireplace, singing “Good King Wenceslas” in pitch-perfect four-part harmony. Which is news to me. Based on my experience, I thought it involved screaming cousins breaking china and parents teasing you about humiliating things that happened 27 years ago. Oh, and heated arguments about casseroles.

But maybe that’s just me.

This is how I get to spend the most wonderful time of the year? With people that make me feel like an awkward 14-year-old again? Yep. They’re family. Whaddaya gonna do? You love ‘em… in the abstract. That love is a little harder to show once you’re in the midst of all the real-world drama and crises and everything else wrapped up in the concept of “family.”

So is family time something to be endured, a grueling experience to just muddle through until you can race home and forget about for another 364 days? That’s not how God sees it. Instead, he sees it as an opportunity. He can use the time with family—or, for that matter, with anyone that tried your patience—to grow you. To make you stronger. To develop traits in you that make the world see less of you and more of him. Lean on him. Love him, and love people.

(Yes, your family counts as “people.”)

Thank you, God, for my family. Pour out your love on me so that I can pour it out on them.

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