When your face turns RED, it’s a sign that you’re getting angry.
Holiday road trips can cause frustration and anger. Many times, conflicts happen over directions, having to stop too much, choosing what restaurant to eat at, staying awake, and especially deciding what music to listen to on the road. Having kids in the car makes it even harder. They say things like, “Stop touching me!” “Stop looking at me!” and “When are we going to get there?” Parents yell back, “When we get there!!! Do you want me to pull this car over?” And then when you finally get to Grandma’s house, you say, “Okay everyone, smile. Look happy!”
Did you ever think there was some anger to deal with at the first Christmas?
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:1-7
This was a very volatile time in history. The Jewish people were forced to travel to the home of their ancestors to swear an oath of allegiance to Caesar which would have required even more taxes. They traveled with their extended family, and Joseph’s fiancé was pregnant. When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he planned on sending her away quietly because he was not the father of this baby. They were in a difficult situation that neither of them signed up for. They’re traveling on a slow, smelly donkey. When they finally arrive, they can’t even get a room to sleep in. They have to go out back to the barn where she delivers her baby in the middle of a bunch of animals. I imagine there was a lot of anger in the events that led up to the first Christmas.
Anger is neutral. It’s one of our natural emotions. We should get angry about injustice, and pain, and inequity. There are also some things that we get mad about that we shouldn’t. But the real issue is, what are you going to do with your anger? Some people express their anger by letting it boil over and explode on everyone around them. Other people suppress all of their anger which can do physical damage to your body. And then eventually, it will come out somewhere. The best option is to release your anger to God. How we handle our anger is important because if you’re not careful, your anger can lead you to sin.
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, Ephesians 4:26
3 Anger Activators at Christmas
We are apart from our extended family for most of the year, and then we get together, and people have changed through the year. When things stay the same, we know what to expect, but change can hurt. We have to allow people to grow and be different from last year when we see them again.
Everyone has experienced some failure this year. When people fail us, we distance ourselves from the relationship. Jesus says just the opposite. Are you willing to be more like Jesus, and offer his grace to people when they need it, even when they don’t deserve it? You can be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus in their life by giving them the grace of God.
Many people feel rejected and lonely at Christmas. When you accept somebody, that doesn’t mean you always agree with them. The only way you’re going to see someone change is when you start to accept them for who they are. Then you earn the chance to influence them. Offer God’s acceptance and love to them. Meet them right where they are and help them move forward in their life.
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Romans 15:7 (NLT)
GET RED-DY FOR PEACE
Release the illusion of perfection
We all have a perfect idea of what our perfect Christmas will be like.
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Ecclesiastes 11:4
If you wait for a perfect Christmas, you’ll never feel peaceful or joyful.
We expect everything and everyone to be perfect, but if we’re really honest with ourselves, we know we’re not perfect.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 1 John 1:8 (NLT)
When you let go of your idea of a perfect Christmas, you will find the beauty in the brokenness of what you have.
Embrace God’s vision for your family.
Joseph and Mary could have rejected God’s purpose, but instead, they embraced it. You can try to have a perfect Christmas, or you can have a purposeful Christmas that makes a difference for your family and for others.
You know that the family of Stephanas was the first family to be won for Christ in Greece. This family has devoted itself to serving God’s people. 1 Corinthians 16:15 (GW)
Stephanas’ family embraced God’s vision. They served together. Is your family serving God’s people?
We exist to reach people with the life-changing power of Jesus!
Decide to live in peace with people.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 (NLT)
As far as it depends on you, choose to be peaceful with the people around you.
God sent Jesus with a promise of peace on Earth, as the Angels sang in:
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14
The Birth of Jesus was a fulfillment of a prophecy made 700 years before Jesus was born:
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Maybe you’ve been so angry because you are angry at God. Jesus came to bring you peace between you and God. The way he did that was with the red blood that he shed on the cross. When He gave His life, Jesus wrapped Himself in red and gave Himself as a sacrifice so that you could have life, and peace, and be a part of God’s Forever Family.