by Mike Zachary
The caution of Christmas.
Since we are just a very few days away from Christmas, I think it is important for me to remind you of the very important word caution as we approach this holiday season.
During the holiday season, it is typical for families that have been separated to get back together again. As people are away from each other, they tend to grow and mature; and the distance sometimes creates a safe space for each person. So when they get back together again, there are times when uncomfortable situations arise.
Parents can forget that their adult children are no longer little kids growing up in their home. Children can forget that their parents are very human and worthy of being treated with kindness and respect. Brothers and sisters can forget to be courteous to each other.
During the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I remind you to slow down. Don’t let hasty words mar times of fellowship. Don’t let tempers flare. Recognize that the holiday creates many rather turbulent situations, and be patient. As the Bible reminds us, we need to “study to be quiet” (I Thessalonians 4:11).
I think we have all heard statements like, “Count to ten before you say anything.” Well, I’m not sure there is any magic counting number when it comes to human relationships, but the Scripture is clear, saying, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 1:2).
In addition to stopping ourselves from saying anything bad, we should do our best to say things that are good. King Solomon wisely said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
May I also offer one gentle reminder. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “It’s been bad a thousand times before, but I just have hope that it will be all better this time.” In many cases, strained relationships have strains for long periods of time. When people think, “I think it will just miraculously be better this time,” they often prevent themselves from taking the mental steps they should take to prepare for the situation. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
In other words, we should have love and charity in our hearts. At the same time, we should be careful to plan for situations that may not be ideal. This way, we can have a taste of both hope and caution.