If everything we knew about Christmas celebrations was based on commercials, or movies, or even our friends’ social media posts, we might think that it is a day when we gather with our family and loved ones, enjoying each other’s company, and everyone is all smiles and happiness.
Sadly, the reality is that many of us will go to our respective Christmas celebrations with heavy hearts and low expectations. Especially in the shadow of an extremely divisive and emotionally charged presidential election, tensions between family members will be running at an all-time high. No matter who we voted for, we all have at least one family member who greatly disliked or outright hated our candidate of choice and tends to be vocal about his or her feelings. In some cases, this particular family member may enjoy pressing your buttons just to start drama.
Unfortunately, this situation is not exclusive to non-Christian relatives. The political atmosphere of the past few months has divided even Christians. There have been many Christians who, after much prayer and Scripture searching, made very different decisions on how to spend their vote. As a result, even Christmas gatherings among Christians could be volatile.
This holiday season, when Christians gather together to celebrate the advent of our Savior, we have an opportunity to do one of two things: dishonor God with arguments, hard feelings, bitterness, and petty remarks, or honor Him by forgiving, reconciling, understanding, and loving one another. Whether you are conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between – if you belong to Christ, that is what truly defines you.
Before you sit at the table to visit with cousin So-and-so who voted for _______, remember that as a child of God who belongs in the kingdom of the Prince of Peace, it is your duty not to change her mind but to love her. If she begins to tweak you to get a reaction, be the adult, and do not stoop to petty disputes. It may be best to avoid politics altogether. Talk about what the Lord has done in your life. Share your heart with your loved one. Serve her if she has a need. Be as Jesus Christ was to the disciples when He girded Himself and washed their feet.
If your family members do not love Christ, then show them His love in your speech and actions. If they do love Christ and belong to the same spiritual family as you, all the more reason to drop petty disagreements and remember what binds you together closer than family ties: the blood of Christ. We were joined together by bonds that should never be so easily broken by things like politics and differences of opinion.
In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. … If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:10, 18).