Christmas 2023 - Day 2: Christmas with Family

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Lk 2:15
This thing which the Lord had made know to them was exactly this; "unto you a savior has been born who is Christ the Lord". It was enough to cause them to go in a new way.
When our kids were small we lived in the furthest Southwest corner of Kansas. Christmas time meant epic trips to grandma’s house in what was to my memory, always awful winter weather. Over the river and through the woods to Grandmothers house we go… Only the woods were bare branches holding on against the winter winds and the rivers were rock solid sheets of gray ice. I recall one trip where it seemed we had to stop every couple of miles to break the ice loose from the wipers and let the defroster catch up. The eight hours of driving was challenging but honestly, it was nothing compared to the challenge when we got there.
I don’t need to tell you that family can be difficult to say the least. Someone is always upset about something, and everyone has something to prove, and no one acknowledges any of it. The name of the game is tension… Family fun. For years I honestly thought everyone else was crazy and I was the only sane one. That is classic unregenerate thinking (1Jn 1:8).  
This year you can go to family in a new way, if like the shepherds, you will be motivated to do so by Jesus Christ:
First, go as an ambassador of Christ. Do not go promoting yourself, instead, go promoting Christ. Paul says, God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us (2Co 5:19-20). Far too often we put family above Christ, and more often than not, that means putting ourselves above Christ. Go as an ambassador - refuse self-promotion.

Second, go as a servant of Christ. Do not go expecting to be served, rather go expecting to wash feet. (Even the feet of Judas). "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10:45). This requires humbling yourself under the mighty hand of God that in due time He may lift you up (1Pe 5:6). Entitlement is the enemy of sweet fellowship. Go as a servant - humble yourself.

Third and finally, go in peace. Get the peace of God in your heart before going to family. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (Col 3:15). Do not go to a gathering, expecting to grab the peace of Christ in a moment of distress or tension. Rather, knowing your sinful heart tendencies and Satan's schemes, get alone with God before you go and stay in your prayer closet until His peace is large and in charge within you. And pay attention to that word "let". Let the peace of Christ rule… You have a million things to think about - but only one is truly important. "Unto you a savior has been born who is Christ the Lord". He was enough to cause the shepherds to go in a new way and He is more than enough for you and me.

Dear friends, I challenge you to keep these three principles handy throughout the holiday and beyond.
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