1- It Isn't Christmas In Heaven:
Christmas is a man-made celebration. And as a Christian and sincere follower of Jesus, it brings me joy to hear songs, and see commercials on TV about the joy and deliverance from bondage that Jesus brings. But, in Heaven, December 25th is just a regular day. Everything that matters to God every other day of the year matters to Him just as much on December 25th as it does on, say, July 17th. It matters to Him that we are kind, and loving and forgiving and merciful and worshipful that day as much as any other day. The good news of The Gospel is His most important desire on Christmas Day and every day of the year. Setting captives free. Healing the brokenhearted. Proclaiming freedom. Passing from Darkness in to Light. Death in to Life. THIS IS WHY JESUS CAME TO EARTH.. AS A BABY. This is what God is thinking about on Christmas Day... and every other day of the year. I believe this is important to remember when your in-laws walk through the door.
2. Jesus Loves Your Mother-in-Law Even If She Hates You
If you ask most people about what's important about Christmas Day, they will say "being with family." The "fun" thing about getting married is that you get another WHOLE family to deal with. Most of the year, you don't really have to deal with them, but on Christmas Day, your husband may actually WANT TO BE WITH HIS FAMILY.. (go figure)... I mean, it's Christmas, for the love of God, and even though you don't have any wonderful Christmas memories that include his family... maybe... HE DOES. I would suggest you remember a key verse from the Bible:
A gentle answer deflects anger but harsh words make tempers flare.
Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
The interesting thing about this verse is that it is telling us what to do when we are called to respond to a remark. It's an ANSWER to a statement already voiced. It seems to me that it is easier to keep from saying something mean-spirited than to have to hold my tongue when someone has obviously and deliberately tried to offend me. A gentle "answer" means that someone may have asked a snarky question, or someone may have said an insulting comment... and it is AT THAT MOMENT that I make the choice whether to light the fires of resentment that satan is just HOPING to light... or if I give a gentle answer.. then wrath doesn't FLARE. It is so OBVIOUS that God does not want arguing, and contention, that I hesitate to take the time to type the sentence.. but some of us forget that. Some of us have turned in to angry Crusaders rather than loving Christians.
Now it doesn't seem FAIR, I'll admit, that when someone is taking a shot at you, that YOU have to be the one to keep the peace. It may not be FAIR, but it is certainly WISE.
And maybe it isn't your mother-in-law who has obvious resentment against you. It could be your sister, or your own mother. It doesn't really matter because in the end, God's main concern about that person is if they have come to know the Jesus they are celebrating. Your life may be the ONLY time they see the Reason for The Season. He loves your mother-in-law, your sister-in-law, your mother, the aunt who annoys you... SO MUCH... that He sent HIS ONLY SON to die for them. Go figure. Who can figure the LOVE of God? Not me. Not you. And speaking of God's love.. never forget that...
3. Jesus Loves YOU Even If Your Mother-In-Law Hates You.
While you are doing your best to give gentle answers, to show love, to be kind... God has His loving eye upon you. He is protecting you, guiding you, strengthening you. He is more than willing to give you the desire to reflect JESUS on Christmas Day. Don't forget that God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to give His life for you. God wanted you SO MUCH that it was worth giving up Jesus to have you forever. You can make it through a stress filled day because.. well.. because you can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives you the strength to do it.
Mrs. Older is just as surprised as you are when I discover that someone has a resentment toward me, or someone doesn't like me... (I know.. I know... how is that even possible.. right?).... Mrs. Older is a feisty little fighter of a woman who always wants to DEFEND HERSELF. But the Holy Spirit gives me the desire to react the way Jesus would. And after He gives me the desire to react that way, He gives me the power to react that way.
And I always remember that Jesus loves me.
Jesus loves me.
And... IF you feel alone that day... and IF someone shows their true and ugly colors... I pray that you might remember this blog...and remind yourself that JESUS LOVES YOU... even if your mother-in-law does not.
Oh.. and I love you too.