Merry, Merry! Christmas is almost here!
As families gather in the coming days, folks from one to ninety-one will join in celebration of this holiest of holidays. Excitement runs high - as do expectations.
We've gathered overstimulated children and overstressed adults into overcrowded rooms filled with festive fragility. We've crowded into homes packed with people, presents and problems. We've brought an abundance of differing perspectives, passions, and politics.
No wonder pride, prejudice, and pettiness push through when we least expect them.
So, how do we show gentleness for every generation when grandparents get grumpy, babies bawl, hostesses holler, and husbands hide?
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
God's word always has the answers, doesn't it? In the Bible, gentleness is often mentioned alongside humility, patience, and love. But how do we manage gentleness with humility, patience, and love when life and loved ones get on our last nerve?
PACK UP PRIDE
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
Again, God's word combines humble and gentle, patience and love. The secret here? Make allowance for each other's faults. We must realize we also have faults, and not think of ourselves as better than others. That creates humility.
Focus on love for family members rather than their flaws. Find positive things about each person: the bawling baby's adorable dimples, a grouchy grandmother's sweet floral scent, a rambunctious toddler's infectious laugh, or a hiding husband's charming smirk.
Even a hollering hostess likely has redeeming qualities - as well as a delicious dish or two. Plus, she did a lot of work to create this celebration for everyone.
Complimenting the positives may bring a baby's coo, a grandma's smile, a toddler's grin, or a husband out of hiding. A hostess may beam with the appreciation. Give grace for those who likely need it most.
PUSH OFF PREJUDICE
"They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone."
We know we're right and the other side is wrong. (She's an atheist or a he's a Nazi or...)
But for now -- for Christmas -- try to see things from another point of view. Rather than arguing or discrediting or thinking negative thoughts about the opposition, let's open our minds -- and our hearts -- to the person behind the perspective. Let's try to understand why someone has different views.
Christmas is not the time for questions or debate, but it's the perfect time to ponder the hurts or experiences of others that affect their views of God, society, or culture. Listen for the feelings behind their beliefs. Seek understanding and love will likely follow. (Or at least less derogatory thoughts!)
PART WITH PETTINESS
"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare."
Flaring tempers are the last thing anyone wants or needs on Christmas!
And yet, that ultimate cutting retort wants to slide off our tongues. After all, drunken uncle deserves it after what he's said to us.
But what will we gain... really? A biting remark will only escalate the tension. Who wants to ruin Christmas like that? Even if we've waited years for this perfect opportunity, let's make this the year of gentleness and love. In the end, showing Christ's love always make a merrier Christmas FOR EVERYONE than showing so-and-so how Satan has his way with us. (Talk about humbling. And not in a good way.)
"But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others."
This Christmas, let's remember that our behavior creates patterns and traditions that affect our family not just for this generation, but for generations to come.
May we all be a gentle generation and pave the way for Gentleness for Generations!
Merry Christmas, my dear friends!
With love and gentleness, Dianne
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control. There is no law against these things!"
How will you show GENTLENESS this Christmas, and overcome the challenges?
Find Dianne's books HERE.