Finding Peace Amid Relational Dysfunction This Christmas

Christmas, a time some look forward to and others dread. Some of us have lovely memories of friends and loved ones gathered around the table. For others, however, the relational dysfunction and outright hostility of Christmases past initiate a state of panic.

Does it feel tauntingly ironic to celebrate the Prince of Peace in the middle of such turmoil? If only He’d sweep in, initiate instant calm, harmony, and duck tape for our mouths.

And yet, He can, bring calm, peace, joy, and deep, unshakable fulfillment to any situation.

Woman with arms raised and words from Luke 14:27In Luke 14:27, Jesus presents His disciples—and us—with a gift: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you.” (WEB).

Christ’s peace, poured into our Spirit because of our love for Him, awareness of His love for us, and all that includes, goes much deeper than our circumstances or stressors. Worldly peace depends on pleasing circumstances. God’s peace rests on the Person, power, and authority of Jesus Christ.

The deeper we press into Him, the more we surrender to Him, and theRelaxed women sitting outside more our thoughts align with His, the deeper our peace.

Let me explain.

Imagine the typical Christmas dinner, peppered with family drama, political arguments, and religious debates. With every heated conversation, you feel your self-control—your very sanity—slipping.

But then you remember truth.

God is still sovereign.

He knew how crazy your Christmas would be, but He also knows how it will end, and what will happen in the hearts and minds of everyone involved years, even decades later. Even in the mess, perhaps especially in the mess, He’s working out His plans, and smack in the middle of the chaos, He longs to shine His love, truth, and peace through you.

To show the stark difference between a life and heart centered on Christ and one tossed about by day to day drama.

Salvation is more important than political viewpoints.

That’s not to say politics are trivial, but in every situation, there’s a battle then there’s the battle.

In every situation, there’s a battle then there’s the battle. It’s easy to get caught up in surface level arguments, failing to see the root cause.

It’s easy to get caught up in surface level arguments, failing to see the root cause. Every situation boils down to a simple truth: one’s heart is either far from God or being led and transformed by Him (Romans 8:5-8). Recognizing this provides wisdom that can guide us through every conversation and interaction.

It’s God’s job, not ours, to change others.

We’re to love, and yes, when appropriate and initiated by the Holy Spirit, to share truth. But Aunt Birtha’s behavior, Uncle Tim’s eternal destiny, and our sister’s politics aren’t our responsibility. Our role is simple: to continually live closely connected to Christ and as His ambassadors in every situation, leaving the outcome to Him. Realizing and resting in that frees us to express ourselves calmly and with love, demonstrating wisdom that is pure, peaceful, and gentle (James 3:17).

Finally, it’s okay to step away. To take time to pray and regroup, or to get yourself “powered up” by the Holy Spirit. Because ultimately, He is our source of peace.

The holidays can be a wonderful, festive, stressful, difficult time, but in Christ, we have the power to grab hold of peace, no matter how dysfunctional dinner conversation becomes.

Let’s talk about this! Are you anticipating a merry or stressed-and-contrary type of Christmas? What are some ways you can center yourself in Christ in the middle of whatever relational messes you encounter? Share your thoughts here in the comments below and on our Facebook page, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

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