As our children grow up, their relationships and sphere of responsibility increases exponentially. I’m trying to remember it’s no longer “us four (well, five) and no more.” The older my children get, the more people they are responsible to. The holidays are a good time to show them how much I appreciate where they are right now. It’s also a good time to be mindful of the changing needs of my parents and in-laws. True love is helpful, even sacrificial, at times. God rewards us when we show this kind of love: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Heb. 13:16).
Since holiday celebrations are supposed to be fun, not forced, I’m hoping to use phrases like these more often this year:
“It’s not the day that’s important—it is being with you. We’ll find another time that works better!”
“We don’t want to add any additional pressure by heaping on expectations. If you can join us, we’ll be delighted and if you can’t, we understand.”
“I love you and want you to be here, but I also want you to do what is best for you and your family.”
You may be facing similar holiday challenges, too. Your mother-in-law is demanding that you stick to her schedule. Your daughter can’t trim the tree with the family and you have to break your usual tradition. Your grown son decides to spend his holiday with girlfriend in Florida. You may be feeling frustrated or even a little depressed. I’m with you!
Remember you have a choice. Choose not to let holiday disappointment drive a wedge between you and your family. Pray. Be understanding. Remain flexible. Work to be a blessing to your family. Cling to the verses above—let them help you avoid holiday mistakes.
May Patterson has been writing and teaching bible study classes for years. Her new book, “Seeking a Familiar Face,” was birthed from a Bible study she wrote in 2014 called “A Time to Seek.” She was trained in small group dynamics for over ten years at Bible Study Fellowship, serving as a leader for four years. She has written for several magazines including Focus on the Family, Upper Room Magazine and Shattered Magazine, among others. She is married to her dear friend, Mike, and they have three grown children. She loves to tell stories, laugh, and talk about the adventure of seeking God. For more information, visit www.maypatterson.com.
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