"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~Galatians 5:22-23
The holidays can be a time of joy, as well as a time of
stress. Even good changes are still stressful. When a large family
comes from the corners of the earth to get together in one place, even a large
mansion can feel very tiny! Everyone has their own "routine,"
and their own different needs. Some are more flexible than others, and
some have things going on under the surface that you may not even know about.
Love. When you give, are you giving to receive
something in return? Or is it from your heart? Love is a
deliberate attitude of good will and devotion to others. Love gives
freely, without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives
without expecting anything back.
Joy. Is your happiness dependent upon your life going
smoothly? Unlike happiness, joy is completely independent of the good or
bad things that happen in the course of the day.
Peace. Are you frazzled by the small stressors in
life? Peace is not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of
tranquility, even while in a place of chaos.
Patience. Are you easily set off when things go wrong,
or others irritate you? Patience is the ability to endure ill
treatment from life, or at the hands of others, without lashing out or paying
Kindness. Are you focused on your own needs, or on
others'? When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for
ways to adapt to meet the needs of others.
Goodness. Does your life reflect the love of God?
Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others and is not beyond
confronting or even rebuking (as Jesus did with the money changers in the
temple) for that to happen.
Faithfulness. Do your actions show hypocrisy and
indifference? A faithful person is one with real integrity...someone that
talks the talk, and walks the walk.
Gentleness. Do you come across as headstrong and
brash? Meekness is not weakness. Gentleness is not without power, it just
chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, and
lives in tranquility.
Self-control. Do your own desires control your life?
Self-control is literally releasing our grip on these desires, choosing
instead to focus on the family's needs as a whole.
These are not things that we don't know. They're just things
that we tend to forget in the midst of the chaos that can surround the
holidays. Don't forget the reason for the season. It's not about
pumpkin pie, turkey, and cranberry sauce. It's not about scoring the best
deal on Christmas presents. It's not about which team got the touchdown.
It's about love.