I remember as though it was yesterday when all my family would gather on Christmas Day. The smell of food cooking, the Christmas tree with all the decorations, seeing grandpa and grandma, uncles, aunts, nephews, and nieces all gathered in that small row house. There was a lot of laughter and joking and reminiscing about past experiences and family members who have passed on. It was a time I will never forget. I must tell you that my family was not perfect. We had our issues. Sadly today, there seems to be a crisis in the family. Families have been torn asunder by vicious disagreements, political differences, unforgiveness, jealousy, differing theological views, and selfishness.

2 Corinthians 9:6b says you reap what you sow. We want happy, pleasurable experiences at family gatherings, but we are sowing bad seeds. A family is like a garden. It needs time, attention, and cultivation. A family also needs laughter and affirmation. It needs the rains of difficulties, tense moments, and serious discussions about the issues of today. There must be tilling of the hard soil where hardness is broken, and fresh seeds of grace and forgiveness must be planted. So here are some things we can do this Christmas season.

1. Plant some rows of peas: patience, promptness, and politeness.
2. Plant three rows of squash: squash gossip, squash criticism, and squash indifferences.
3. Plant a few rows of lettuce: let us be faithful, let us be unselfish, let us be loyal, let us love one another, let us have a gracious attitude, and be truthful.
4. Plant three rows of turnips: turn up with a smile, turn up with a new idea, turn up with determination to be a peacemaker, turn up compliments and turn down criticism.
5. Finally, be sure the climate is conducive to good growth. It does not matter what you plant, fertilize, or water; it will not grow if the climate is not right. If your family is dealing with past hurts, attitudes, anger, unforgiveness, jealousy, and history of pathological baggage, no growth will happen, and your family garden will die.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” Look at the last words in this text: “…just as in Christ, God forgave you.”

Creating the right atmosphere begins with you. Start the conversation and move toward healing and restoration. Need some help? Ask God to show you how much he forgave you of your mess and then purpose in your heart to be a thermostat at your Christmas gathering, not a thermometer. A thermostat controls the environment, but a thermometer is controlled by the environment. Which one are you?

For many of us, time with family is more than we can bear without support. It will take a lot of work and dependency on the Holy Spirit’s power to sow good seeds. Did you know that Bridgeway’s Care Ministry offers several ways to serve you through the emotional seasons of life at no cost? They provide support without judgment and maintain confidentiality. Please consider reaching out to one of the many Care ministries. We want to support you so you are able to sow good seeds when you gather with family and friends this holiday season.

Remember, what you sow this year will bring lasting fruit for years to come. Will it be good fruit or bad fruit?

1 Peter 4:8-9 says: Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

What will your family gathering look like this Christmas season?

If you need help or support, please contact Care.
If you are looking for fun activities to do with your family, attend our Events.
If you are looking for people to do life with, connect with our Groups.