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Christmas Survival Toolbox

Christmas Gatherings with Family can be Stressful and Full of Conflict Here’s how to Survive the Family during the Holiday Season: 1- BRING A BLANK CHALKBOARD
The eraser principle- One of the things that stresses us out over having to be at the Annual Christmas Family Dinner is remembering last year and the one before that. We all have that mental chalkboard to remind us how we’ve been hurt. Every action, every word- faithfully jotted down in our minds. How Uncle Ed said mean things to your overweight daughter. And your cousin showed off his new Porsche right after you mentioned what a hard year it had been financially. And your Mom kept asking if you’d ever find the person to spend your life with. Fun times, man. Fun times. As you approach that gathering again this year, “Remember to Forget.” “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” - 1 Cor. 13:4-5 Seriously. Take time, list it out. Action Point List: What accounts do I need to erase? Am I willing? The basis for forgiveness is never what they’ve earned or deserve, but is always what God has done in my life, forgiving me of my sins. Let’s get to some definitions: Forgive- to release a person freely and completely from the debt he or she has built-up through improper or injurious words or actions...without any expectation of repayment or amends. Note: Forgiveness is not conditioned upon it being requested by the other person. If I hold unforgiveness and anger in my heart, I don’t hurt others as much as I simply stress out myself and my immediate family, in a sense giving the other person permission to keep hurting me. How the Blank Chalkboard changes Christmas gatherings: Releases the tension and sets you free to focus on and enjoy the time with your family

And pray for them. be willing to give a little. you grow through their thoughtless words and actions. If only we could get combat pay and help for the PTSD! In war. claim the hill in advance. the hill may not be worth dying’ve made yours. before a single shot is ever fired. you and your family will be staying home and will come by the next day. He gives compliments that are more like insults. clothe yourselves with compassion. See it as a gift from God to help you love people who are unloveable. And I refuse to participate in it. and telling very adult-oriented jokes and stories.Romans 12:18 So tell yourself in advance. (including your young children). preferring to fight the ones that really matter over the ones that simply seem important at the moment. 2.Let’s say. Maybe you just don’t like Uncle Ed.“if there’s a problem and we’re at war. every year Uncle Ed gets blind drunk and starts cussing at everyone. If it’s something less important. be patient.DETERMINE IN ADVANCE WHICH HILLS I’LL DIE ON The wartime principle. Choose your battle.Road-bump ahead: It probably won’t change the other person. gentleness and patience.Ephesians 4:2 “Therefore. Stand your ground. But if Uncle Ed is invited again this year. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Tell her that you love her and her brother. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” -Colossians 3:12-13 “If it is possible.” Again. Instead of dreading it and becoming angry or anxious when it happens. At that point. kindness. it won’t be my the mortar for the big targets . That way. Military Commanders spend a lot of time planning the battles in advance. live at peace with everyone” . Maybe they just like to start arguments? They can’t do it if you know in advance and are determined not to argue! “Be completely humble and gentle. as far as it depends on you. And his wife is really gossipy. humility. for instance. So we need to develop a strategy that will involve the least number of casualties.Family Gatherings can feel like war. holy and dearly loved. She can make the choice. Maybe this is one worth fighting for? Call your Mom and remind her what Uncle Ed does every year. Here’s the Checklist: Claim the hill in advance. They’ll still probably act like jerks. as God's chosen people. They carefully choose their battles. bearing with one another in love”.

Gives you a chance to communicate major issues in advance. Adults remember and carry with them the scars of growing up in imperfect families -and they all are.In the end. Happy people don’t need to boast. “Grateful for what I have. Choose Christ first and value becomes a moot point. not upset about how much you have. aren’t they? "Mom always liked her better. It will take the wind right out of their sails.How it changes Christmas gatherings: It gives you a grid for deciding when to fight/leave and when to flex/compromise. it “Sallgood”! Determine that you will be. how much they are loved or what they have. compliment them.kills some of the anxiety. probably aren’t very happy. And keep you from feeling inferior.even with the eraser principle. you and I know that material possessions don’t make us happy." Competitive spirits can even be passed on to our children: "Oh. Why do you need anything else? Contentment with God and his love for you.MY KID BEAT UP YOUR HONOR STUDENT Family carries history that sometimes is hard to erase. in the end. seeking peace and reconciliation 3. . The Sallgood Principle is simple: “I have what God has allowed me to have. in the end. And I know Jesus! So. do they? And those who have to brag about who they are. What else do you need? Additional Tips: .is greater than any prize this world has to offer.Know in advance it’s coming. Know it now and be ready for it. You serve a big God who loves you in a big way. You know who likes to brag and be competitive.they’re content with their lives and have no need to make others jealous. where you struggle with your value is an indicator of your faith. “But her house is so big…” Sallgood! Tell yourself: “I know who I am instead of needing you to tell me” “I live off God’s approval so I don’t need yours” Because. You are a child of the living God." "Dad always paid more attention to you.” If they brag and boast and try to feel superior.just as you are. your daughter struggles with her weight? Well…my Jenny is prom queen this year…" "You lost your job? Let me show you pics of our new Jacuzzi! Did I tell you we just bought a new summer home?" Sallgood Principle.

In the end. A Dad. How it changes Christmas gatherings: It brings healing to a family to be able to remember those who have passed on. Plan it out. be sensitive to that and wait until they can. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness .Look to the truth beyond the truth. If possible. But if some can’t do so. It might even lead to an opportunity to share God’s love for all of us. Sincerely and with heart. Child is gone. have a time in which you talk about your relative. Maybe for yours. Brothers. They’ve died. And it reminds each person that all of us will face death at some point. but celebrate the life Be sensitive if other family members can’t see the empty chair right now. How sad must she be to have the need to make others feel inferior just to feel good about herself? Pray for are a light to those who may not yet know Jesus.. remember. centers you on what’s really important and places you outside the turmoil of the family 4. .live it realmake it count.Smile and resist the urge to fight back.2 Peter 1:3 .ACKNOWLEDGE THE EMPTY CHAIR Christmas is a hard time for many families. Acknowledge it and spend some time remembering and honoring their life. Give compliments and tell them you are grateful God has blessed them. Remember the loss. Sister. How it changes Christmas gatherings: Gives you peace. Mom. demonstrated so well at that first Christmas.