Many will travel and some will enter a time warp of how things used to be. The problem is you are no longer the same person.
Sometimes family gatherings become a vortex of emotions that can suck you down until you feel disabled. One of the ways to avoid that helpless feeling is to not have false expectations. If Aunt Betty has always been argumentative and controlling, don’t expect her to be suddenly polite this Christmas. Instead of taking her to task for being so judgmental, simply listen, really listen, and when she takes a breath, say, “That’s interesting.”
She has a deep need to be heard. Give her the gift of listening. You don’t have to agree with her or take in her barbs, just nod and smile.
If we go without expectations and with the anticipation of finding ways to show love, we will have a much better time. Let it be a time of socialization, not social media. Look at the person when you are talking and truly listen.
Once I got out of my needs and began to approach life with a “how can I serve you” view, life became incredibly simpler. The bonus was instead of trying to get my needs met, while loving others, all those needs were either erased, changed or met.
I tell myself now and then, “Get out of your navel and into the Father’s heart.”
I pray, “Lord, help me to see today what you see and feel what you feel and love as you love.”
On my own, I can’t love the Aunt Bettys even though I know deep inside I was once one, too. But with the love of the Father, I can provide a safe place for the wounded and needy to heal. Isn’t that why Jesus came?
He said, “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,...” Luke 4:18
If He was about His Father’s business, should I not do the same?
Don’t be misled. I am not there yet, but I want to be.
Thankfully my Father judges the intents of my heart, not my imperfect attempts to show His love and His mercy.
It’s a journey – just one step at the time. The important thing is to keep going forward.