“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.” I Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States. It’s officially the beginning of the holiday season which lasts from Thanksgiving Day through January 1st. It’s a time when we are able to slow down some and possibly spend time with friends and family that we may not have seen much throughout the year.
There are countless jokes and more than enough movies made about the dysfunctional relationships of some families. When I think about these movies, this year I’m focused on the mom in each of the families. Each child that she calls her own has unique likes and dislikes, personality and preferences. Then come the spouses of her children and possibly grandchildren – again, all coming with their own interests, likes/dislikes and personalities. That’s a lot of personalities colliding with each other under one roof.
However, what the mom focuses on is having all her family around her, hoping everyone will just get along. Moms embrace the different personalities that grace her dinner table because she watched each personality grow and develop over the years. Moms celebrate the successes, wipe tears shed over disappointments and give hope when needed. Moms don’t mind extra chores or more noise or cheerful chaos because it means her table is full and memories are being made.
That got me thinking. How much more is that God’s goal for us? After all, He’s the best example of a loving parent. I believe God wants the same thing for us. As families. As a country. As a world. I also believe He knows better than the rest of us just how hard that goal is to attain. We all have different likes and dislikes, personalities, schedules and ways of doing things. And when we focus on our differences and protecting what’s “rightfully ours,” problems are bound to surface. But, when we choose to show love using Jesus as our example, we see less differences and more similarities. We use our unique personality styles to complement each other instead of driving a wedge between us and others. We start becoming “other” focused and serving instead of “me” focused and taking.
I believe that’s a choice God wants us to make. To make love a lifestyle. Not just during the holidays with family members around the dinner table, but as a way of life with family, friends and others God places into our lives. Not backing down on Biblical principles but choosing the loving way to point others back to Him. Not having to always be “right” but being willing to listen and try to understand where someone from another viewpoint is coming from as well as why that view is important to them. Taking that lifestyle of love and walking in it every day.
Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours. May your day be filled with blessings and God’s favor and may you be surrounded by His love – whether by yourself or in a house full of many different personalities.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017