December 23 … Two days til Christmas! For many people “prep time” for the big day! For others travel time – going “home” to be with family or a journey to be with friends! Hearts are filled with joyful anticipation (or perhaps a bit of trepidation).
I don’t know why it is, but Christmas, a holiday with high expectations for joy, peace and satisfying relationship, sometimes degenerates into conflict, misunderstanding and pain. I guess we could chalk it up to our own lack of self-management at times, but I sometimes wonder if there isn’t an evil saboteur at work to destroy relationships at a time like Christmas (I call him Satan)! And the tragedy? Christians fall into the trap – the very people who claim as their two “great commandments,” Loving God and loving their neighbor (Matthew 22:38-40)!
So today in my Bible reading during “coffee with the Lord” I got this healthy reminder (and word of caution) from 2 John 4-5 that I think applies to Christmastime and our gatherings with family and friends: “And now I ask you… not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another.”
We’re not just talking about feelings of affection here – we’re talking about a verb – something we act on and do! In some cases it’s going to take some “fruit of the Spirit” called “patience” and “self control” (but it is something the Holy Spirit will help you to do! Galatians 5:22-23). Apostle Paul’s challenge comes to mind: “Therefore I … beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Here’s praying you have a wonderful, Christ-centered Christmas, filled with the love, peace and joy that He produces in our lives through the Holy Spirit!