This is really hard… can I be honest?

Can I be honest? Sometimes, Christmas-time is often one of the hardest times to be Christ-like and joy-filled.

Add in wedding stress (we are having a wedding in less than a week!) and you’ve got some joy-stealing opportunities galore!

These circumstances can cause situations with family, and others, with whom we may be the recipients of snide remarks, false accusations and other forms of unfair treatment.

Sometimes, the dread of it all can put a damper on what should otherwise be a time of sweet celebration.

Perhaps, your history with them has been less-than-perfect.

Perhaps, they knew you when you weren’t walking with Jesus.

Maybe your attempts to genuinely love others has been misinterpreted and unappreciated.

Perfects they are “negative Nellies” or they think the world should revolve around them?

Anybody experienced this?

Perhaps, you would rather be anywhere, do anything, and be with anyone other than that person.

Shoot, you would rather stand in line at WalMart than have to be with certain others.

However, tradition and circumstance requires your presence … so, what then?

What do you do?

This Christmas ….make a DELIBERATE choice not to be offended.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but if you make this choice (ahead of time) you may save yourself some real, knot-in-your-stomach misery.

Choose to love the unlovely.

Choose to smile when they frown. Choose to be full of grace. Choose to deliberately forget the wrongs from the past. (I know it’s easier said than done, right? But, hang on!)

Do they deserve it? Perhaps not. Will they act differently when you treat them this way? Sadly, maybe not.

However, this I can promise…. You will experience an amazing, and freeing, closeness to the Savior we celebrate.

Think about this…He too, was incredibly misunderstood and unappreciated. He was rejected by friends and family. His own family even called him crazy (see Mark 3:21), but He CHOSE to love them anyway!

Jesus deliberately chose to love you and me anyway too. …when we weren’t so easy to love.

(Maybe, read that last part again and let THAT soak in?)

Jesus chose to come into our world and rescue us when we were His enemies. Yep, the Bible says “enemies” (Rom 5:10).

Can you wrap your mind around that kind of love after that kind of rejection?

So, instead of spending time, rehearsing in your mind all the things you would like to say to those who may well be saying stuff about you…. instead of all that, remember the One who died for you, felt the rejection you are facing and MORE. He felt it (and not just from your Aunt Judy) but from all of the world!

…and He still CHOSE to love us anyways.
What a Savior!

And here is the “help-you-part”….when you choose to love those unlovely people anyway, when you DELIBERATELY choose not to be offended, you are choosing to be like your Savior.

Maybe they will see Him in you (and let’s face it, only He can change them).

But certainly, anytime we choose to be like our Jesus there WILL be blessing.

Because, the One we celebrate tells us, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Prov 19:11)

Choose some glory. GLORY to Jesus.

And remember, when we choose to be obedient to our Lord, He tells us He will be our strength to do so. (I Thess 5:24 – He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” )

Yes, let’s CHOOSE to be Merry this CHRISTmas!! Let’s choose JOY!

choosejoy

aweandwonder

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