Christmas Break can be a great time to step out of school and relax a little bit while everything slows down. However, we realize that sometimes it can be a little stressful leaving community and going home to spend about a month with family. Today, in the Christmas Survival Guide, we are going to talk about practical ways you can be gracious to you families, specifically over the break.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 it says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” One great way to pursue loving your family is to read this verse throughout the break and put it into practice. Because the verse talks about each of the different attributes of love, you can focus on the ones that are harder for us to put into practice. In order to truly grow in loving others, we have to be intentional in practicing it.
Learning to love our families well doesn’t happen overnight. However, making small, practical steps can help. Here are some to take while at home over break in order to be more gracious to our family:
1. Take the time to become aware of what you need: You will be out of your normal routine and not with your friends you have gotten used to seeing everyday. If you need to spend extra time by yourself whether it is reading, taking a walk, take the time to do that. Do what you need to do in order to be your best self. Also, even though you may be away from your community, you can still stay in contact with them and talk to them about your break. Don’t feel guilty when it comes to you doing something you really enjoy. The break is a great time to be with your family, but it is also a great time for you.
2. Set expectations with your parents: This can be very good so that you are on the same page. You are used to being at college where you do not have to check in with anyone, but when you come home over break parents tend to want to check in with you. Communicate expectations with them so that you can know exactly what they want from you and also explain where you are coming from and what you are used to and it will be easier to be gracious to them.
3. Walk away for a little while from something if you can tell you are starting to get angry: Sometimes the best thing we can do is to step away and gather our thoughts when something is making us mad. Go away and pray about whatever has made you upset, and ask God for his perspective. A lot of times we need to step away and ask Him for a bigger picture and to also make sure we don’t say something we may regret.
4. Identify certain conversation topics that would be likely to trigger you: Become aware of the different topics you may have put up walls around because you would prefer to not discuss them. If you think about these things in advance and why they trigger something in you, take them deeper with God. Ask Him why it brings up certain things in you. For example, if it stresses you out when your parents ask you about your future, talk to God about it before they ask you. Most likely, they are asking you out of a place of genuinely caring for you. Figure out what you want to talk to them about and the places you are still trying to process. The more you communicate to them, they more likely they will be able to understand where you are coming from.
5. What gets scheduled gets done: Make sure to plan out time for the things you want to do over break. When it comes to spending time with your family, be gracious to them when it comes to your time. Set specific time that you know that you will spend with them. Take time to have real conversations with your family and do things that you know would serve them well. Whether it is doing something they like to do or helping out at home, think of ways that you can be gracious to them.
Lord, what do you want to do in my family and/or teach me specifically while at home this break? I want to press into the things that you want for my family. Will you give me your heart for your family? God, I ask for patience and grace with my family while at home during Christmas Break.
Author | Jamie Cherf