Allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through
you and spill into your kids changes the entire focus of the season.
An excerpt from the Naked Marriage Podcast – “Hallmark is a Liar” with Dr.Cassie Reid
Do you watch Hallmark movies during the Christmas season? No matter the
trouble that comes, everything ends with a bow, the grandparents and the whole
family sitting around the tree, sipping cocoa for three days. But in reality, most
families can’t stand that for three hours, and some of us look at those movies and
feel like failures.
There’s a lot of good and joy that goes with the holiday season, but it can
amplify whatever is going on in our lives—the good things get better, but the
hard things get a lot harder. Things that were a bit stressful, family dynamics that
were a bit tense, financial pressures that caused a little worry, sometimes the
holiday season can blow all of that out of the water. With that in mind, we
worked with Dr. Cassie Reid to help you invite more peace into your home this
It Starts with Peace
Sometimes we can be so busy obsessing over what someone else is doing or
getting or in the hubbub and the events that it edges out the advent season, Jesus,
the Prince of Peace, and our ability to hear the Holy Spirit and have real vision
for what’s happening. There’s no peace anywhere; it’s completely
overshadowed. But the most important thing you can do is allow room for the
Holy Spirit. We achieve that by praying and asking God to bring peace to
relationships and, even if He doesn’t, to help you to be a peacemaker and bring
peace as much as it depends on you. Allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through
you and spill into your kids changes the entire focus of the season. One word
from the Holy Spirit can change everything.
Do What’s Right for Your Family
In a blended family like mine (Cassie), it can be really easy to try to “win”
Christmas, but we learned the hard way to set the tone for our kids. We have
exciting traditions and things we adhere to that our family loves. When we
decide to add something new, we talk to them about it so they know what to
expect. That helps them frame their minds around what we’re doing—enjoying
our traditions and what we have planned.
One year, we wanted to go look at Christmas lights, expecting to give our
toddler the experience of a lifetime—she spent the entire ride begging for
goldfish from the backseat. I felt like a failure, but I wasn’t. It was just an event.
We can try fun and new things, but we can’t obsess when it doesn’t work out.
Laugh, make a new memory, and keep going.
Shift Your Focus
Years ago, I realized that my desire to be right or have things a specific way
only hurt my stepdaughter. For us, Christmas is about creating a great
experience for her—who cares what anyone else thinks? If we feel peace about it,
it lines up with our family values, and it gives her a great experience, then we’re
going to do it.
In a blended family, it’s hard sometimes having someone else control your life
from afar, but you have to get into alignment because the situation may be
unchangeable. You have to shift your focus to loving your kids. I found that a lot
of parents at my practice “woke up “realizing their kid was 18, and they’d spent
years fighting with “the other side” only to leave their kid lost with nowhere to
really call home.
Give Up Unmeetable Expectations
One Christmas, I (Dave) got my kids a gingerbread kit imagining the most
epic Christmas experience. On the way home, my kids were in the backseat
fighting over the box. The pieces were shattered. I lost it—“Throw it away!
You’ve ruined Christmas!” Ashley stopped me and reminded me that the project
didn’t have to look like the picture on the box. We got creative and made our
own new tradition to break the gingerbread pieces before decorating.
A lot of us carry around a deeper expectation of what we think our family or
our life needs to look like… This impossible picture on the box we had in our
mind of what a perfect Christmas is supposed to be. But it doesn’t really exist.
What God calls us to do instead is take the broken pieces of our lives and give
them to Him, then just enjoy what He has given us—something far better than
the stale picture on the box ever could have been.
Set Your Standards & Stick to Them
Whether you’re concerned about competing with neighbors, friends, or in a
blended family, you have to set your expectations for your family when it comes
to spending and stick to them. Don’t let anyone else dictate what your family
does. Come to the point where you decide what your budget is, what your
traditions are, what your values are. Make it unwavering, and don’t allow
anyone to tug on your emotions.
Make Peace with Your Spouse a Priority
Keeping your relationship peaceful should be a priority so, communication is
key. With the busyness of everything, you’ve got to be able to talk to each other
and protect each other. You’ve got to be able to decide how to spend your
budget, settle on your traditions, and plan your family time together. You have
two places where you each learned what tradition is, what the holidays feel like
—and they’re very rarely the same. Your family opens gifts Christmas Day, his
opens them Christmas Eve… what do you do now that you’re starting a family of
your own? You figure out what your traditions are and how to honor both
families in that.
Whatever stress you face during the holiday season, it’s important to face it
more tenderly, both for yourself and your family. It’s easy to face the holidays
and immediately be on the defensive, but there are ways to honor those you love
and still set up boundaries to protect yourself and your immediate family.
Setting healthy and respectful boundaries and refusing to tolerate disrespect or
backbiting creates a shift in your family toward health that can be a huge
blessing to your legacy. And it all starts with you, when you bring peace with
you into the situation.