Finding Peace Amid Relational Dysfunction at Christmas
By Jennifer Slattery
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” John 14:27
Does the thought of Christmas dinner spike your pulse? Does it feel ironic to celebrate the Prince of Peace in the middle of such turmoil? And yet, Christ can bring harmony and wholeness to any situation.
Christ’s peace, poured into us because of our love for Him, goes deeper than any temporary stressors. The more we press into and surrender to Him, and the more our thoughts align with His, the deeper our peace.
When you feel your self-control—your very sanity—slipping, you can remember this: God is sovereign.
He knew how crazy your Christmas would be, but He also knows how it will end. He knows what’ll happen in everyone’s hearts and minds, even decades later. Even in the mess, perhaps especially in the mess, He’s working out His plans and longs to shine His love and grace through you.
In every conflict, there’s a battle, then there’s the battle. Every situation boils down to a simple truth: one’s heart is either far from God or being led and transformed by Him (Romans 8:5-8). Recognizing this provides wisdom for every interaction.
And understand, it’s God’s job, not ours, to change others.
We’re to love and gently share truth. But Aunt Bertha’s sobriety, Uncle Tim’s views, and your sister’s behavior aren’t your responsibility. Nor is your children’s salvation. Yes, you’re to teach them truth, but only God can make that truth stick. Realizing and resting in that frees us to express ourselves calmly and with love, demonstrating wisdom that is pure, peaceful, and gentle—instead of becoming defensive, withdrawn, or reactive.
And when your patience falters and frustrations mount, it’s okay to step away. To take time to pray and get “powered up” by the Holy Spirit. Because ultimately, He alone is our source of peace.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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Originally published Wednesday, 05 December 2018.