Tips for the Holidays: Family Communication

Family gatherings.  You either love them or loathe them.  Catching up with relatives on the past year causes us to focus inwardly more than usual.  And frankly, we all have those family members that delight in making themselves the center of attention…perhaps we are that relative?  You can identify this person because they always have something to say about anything.  They’ve done it, seen it or experienced it.

Many times the arguing, conflict and fighting can be avoided just by heeding some biblical principles.  (Sounds simplistic doesn’t it?)  I was reading the other day in Proverbs 18 and stopped at verse 2: A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Now, that’s a pretty straightforward piece o’ wisdom, but lets consider it in the context of holiday gatherings.

  • A word study on “fool” will quickly lead us to understand that we really don’t want to be counted in that group.  In the Proverbs, fools quickly come to ruin, are enslaved to others, flaunt their foolishness, receive punishment, are reckless and careless, receive continued sorrow and many other unattractive things.
  • This fool has no desire at all to understand the situation or conversation he finds himself in.  The other person’s feelings, thoughts  or words mean little to him.  This fool certainly gives little thought to giving preference to another.
  • This fool only delights in expressing his own opinion and demonstrates a very self-focused life.  The most important person in the room at this moment is this fool, or so he thinks.  You can imagine that someone this self-focused has little to say of any value.

So, what do we do with this?  First, let’s all make sure we are not going to be this fool this holiday season.  The temptation will be there, as will ample opportunity.  Secondly, choose this passage from Philippians 2 to focus on this holiday season: (Phil.2:3,4) Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

For further holiday reading on how to act & react in the holiday season with family, why not read the rest of Philippians 2?  There you will see a wonderful example of the Christ, whose coming we celebrate at this year, given for us to follow.


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