“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you,
live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,
but rather give place unto wrath:
for it is written, Vengeance is mine;
I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger,
feed him; if he thirst, give him drink:
for in so doing thou shalt
heap coals of fire on his head.”
Ah, the holidays, the wonderful time of year when family and friends get together to celebrate, cook, catchup, and create beautiful memories. It can be a fun and festive season, full of peaceful and enjoyable events. Many of us dream of the nice experiences we’ll have and look forward to sharing time with those we love.
Unfortunately, strained, disconnected, and dysfunctional relationships can drain the “Happy” and “Merry” right out of our holiday moments. When there is loss, unresolved grievances, disagreements, and distance between those getting together, peace doesn’t always find a seat at the table.
So, how do we keep our festivities festive when our relationships are less than peaceful? Let’s see how the Romans 12:18-20 passage can be applied to our holiday hospitality.
I enjoy celebrating the holidays, but they don’t always go like I dream they will. With the loss of loved ones, unexpected life changes, a lack of closeness in some relationships, and personality differences, I don’t always feel up to sharing the spirit of hospitality.
Some years, my heart hurts and I want to hibernate at home. Other times, when I lay my sadness, frustrations, and false expectations aside, visiting with others is more enjoyable. I’ve learned that showing hospitality during the holidays, when things aren’t peaceful, takes effort.
Annual celebrations can give us a distraction or reprieve from conflict, but they can’t erase our heartaches and turmoil. Following God’s ways is the only thing that can mend the brokenness we feel.
Decorating our homes, setting pretty tables, preparing scrumptious food, and inviting loved ones to gather with us doesn’t always guarantee a peaceful and pleasant gathering. Sometimes we have to provide the peaceful setting so that we and our company can enjoy the pleasure of solace during their visit.
There is nothing simple about hosting a gathering and getting people together. Especially, when we hardly know them, spend little time with them, seldom communicate with them, are at odds or share nothing in common. Just because they’re family, or acquaintances, it doesn’t make hosting them during the holidays any easier.
We can feel less than hospitable when we’re stressed, overwhelmed, or troubled by poor relationships. However, we can override many of our conflicts and challenges by choosing to see our guests through God’s eyes and deciding to be hospitable regardless of their attitudes or behaviors.
Peaceful holidays may require patience, humility, forgiveness, and treating our disagreeable guests better than they treat us. The Romans passage shows how to treat our enemies with grace and kindness. Here are some ways to do just that and make our holiday gatherings more enjoyable. We can:
- Love others sincerely with our hearts
- Let them into our personal space
- Leave the past outside the door
- Live as peaceably as possible
The holidays are the perfect time to put Romans 12 into practice. Let’s try it and see how much joy it brings to our celebrations.
Bring It Home
What are some things you do to keep the peace at your gatherings each year?
Praying for you as we grow together,