“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?" "Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” James 4:1; NASB
This week traditionally marks the beginning of the “Holiday Season.” Most of us go into the season with hopes of increased time with family and friends, good food, time off of work (even a little will do), and celebrations. For some however, it is a time of conflict about whose invitation you will accept and whose you will not. Or having enough time to visit everyone on your list. When it comes to the subject of whose house to go to for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, I have seen everything from hurt feelings to all out war erupt in families that normally get along wonderfully. Add to that Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day and things can get pretty stressful.
Now James was not talking about how we make our holiday decisions when he wrote this verse. But the concept is the same regardless of how you apply it. We want things the way we want them, and when they don’t go as we want, we become upset or offended. I’m not saying this happens with everyone, but I’d bet you have experienced it more than you would like. Maybe you’ve been the one offended or upset because someone didn’t invite you or accept your invitation.
These situations can arise in the best of relationships. Maybe your friends decided to go to their other friends’ house to celebrate this year and your response was not very understanding. Maybe your feelings were hurt when your daughter said they were going to her husband’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner, so you said some things that you shouldn’t have. Then to make it worse, she responded with words she wishes she had never said. These conflicts are a result of pride and unfair expectations. In other words, not considering the feelings and needs of others over our own.
This season can be a great opportunity for growth. Instead of being offended or upset when things don’t go your way, pray that those involved have a great time doing whatever they do. Instead of feeling bad about having to choose between several invitations, talk openly with all concerned with the goal of resolving the issue. Do not allow guilt, offense, or bad feelings keep you from enjoying God's blessings.
Most importantly, thank God for all of your blessings, and keep thanking Him. Let's take every opportunity to be humble and to appreciate everything the Lord has done in our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless.
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