Christmas. The time of year when fellowship seems to be a universal dream. Families reunite, friends meet up, couples stick together like glue... arguments are had, feuds rekindled, mistakes made.
There is something about Christmas that forbids loneliness; that often makes us feel the need to have human connection. This is great because we are relational beings, but if we don't guard our hearts it can be a recipe for disaster.
Emotions are elevated in this holiday season. Whether it be desperation to not be alone, or renewed hope and determination to fix an old relationship, there's something about Christmas that blasts clear thinking right out of the picture.
Now don't get me wrong, it is good to desire human fellowship and I am definitely a supporter of conflict resolution, but in the midst of Christmas euphoria and desolation, be wise—do not charge headfirst into things.
The perfect family Christmas
There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas. As with any event that involves the gathering of people in one place, whether family, friends or colleagues, there are bound to be arguments. New or rekindled, arguments are inevitable.
It can be so easy to walk into these gatherings with an open and vulnerable heart. After all, it is Christmas—a time of love and forgiveness. We think, "surely this year things will be different and everyone will get along..." and then we get there; the disputes surface and our perfect Christmas is crushed, reduced to the point of burning frustration or tears.
Yes, go into these places with an open heart. Love people, welcome them, and do not hold grudges. Laugh and embrace freely. Forgive. But be realistic. Hope for the best, but do not expect it, and do not let yourself be misled to repeat old mistakes. Play it smart; ask God for the peace and wisdom to act.
Acknowledge that it cannot be perfect—but do not let that dissuade you from praying for this to be a time of healing. Guard your heart; do not harden it.
Rekindling old love
As I mentioned, the Christmas spirit tends to mess with our rationality. Sometimes it is that we simply hope and long for things to be different, which is elevated by festivities. Other times it can be a desolate loneliness that makes us reach out to someone who has once satisfied our loneliness.
How many times have we shown up to some Christmas party or another to see or hear of that one person suddenly back with their ex-partner? Maybe it has even been us.
We can often forget the reasons we ended a relationship in the first place. Sometimes we find it in our hearts to forgive them. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing: something so undeserving yet freely given, and we should never hold back from forgiving. However, forgiving is not the same thing as forgetting.
We should not hold them to the things they have done in the past, but that does not mean we should not be cautious. One would not entrust, in the name of good faith, ten thousand dollars for safekeeping to the person they just caught stealing from them.
We should think to ourselves that maybe there was a good reason we broke things off. Maybe there was more to this than mistakes; perhaps our time has passed and we must move on, as hard is that can be. Or maybe we really can fix it.
God can work in these times and perhaps Christmas will be the first step towards resolution, but let it just be the first step; let us not leap the flight of stairs and end up hurting not only ourselves but the other person, too.
Guard your heart. Do not let the festivities intoxicate you with unrealistic hopes and dreams. Pray and lean on God if it is time to forgive and rely on Him to be the source of your hopes and dreams. Be cautious of being blinded by the euphoria of Christmas.
Craving companionship in the midst of neglect
Relationships are deceptively easy to repair, and remarkably easy to damage. What happens when we find ourselves craving attention from our partners but lack it? What happens when we are sitting in a bar one night and someone sidles up next to us and seems to provide the comfort and companionship we lack?
Whether it stops at a second glance or ends in bed, the damage is done. Yes, the closer we get to the latter the more disastrous the consequences, but who is to say what damage prolonged eye contact can have on the heart when we are emotionally compromised? Will it end there? Or will it spark up thoughts and desires that plague us for weeks on end?
We are so vulnerable when we are deprived. So hear me when I say, guard your heart. We must not think we are impervious to mistakes as big as an affair. If we lack the attention we desire from our partner, now is the time to take that first step to conflict resolution. Now is the time to pray and work with God in deciding what to do with the relationship.
"Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it."
— Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23
Sabrina has just finished her second year at university studying English and History. She wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and looks forward to another year of writing.
Sabrina Meyer's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressservice international.org/sabrina-meyer.html