Tag Archive | forgiveness

Merry Christmas 2011!

CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN DAY 10: CHRISTMAS MORNING, CINNAMON ROLLS, AND FAMILY ALL DAY LONG
“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays, let them overtake me unexpectedly, waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why this is Christmas Day!” ~Ray Stannard Baker

Everyone has their memories and expectations of what makes Christmas special, don’t they?  And more often than not, those memories are built around home and family and food. At least, for our family. Activities, too. But first and foremost I think food is the hands-down winner!

My daughter-in-law recently got me turned on to Pinterest, which is where she found a photo of a new twist (pun intended) on cinnamon rolls and asked me to make them. Another winner! Mom’s Homemade Cinnamon rolls are a family favorite, but this idea made them even more fun for Christmas. (Photo above; thought you might like to see how they turned out.)

I loved the quote I found for today’s blog. It’s true. We do tend to have too high of expectations of Christmas Day (and other family holidays) sometimes. The reality is that family ALL DAY LONG is an exercise in patience for even the most loving of families (which ours is, but still …). It’s a great opportunity, though, to learn to wait for each other, honor each other, be forbearing toward one another, to be consistently UNoffendable … and to laugh easily and not think to highly of ourselves.

We did THREE rounds of present exchanging, TWO rounds of full-on holiday meals, and ONE round of an over-the-top spread of Christmas desserts. Not to mention multiple games, walking the dogs in the park (whew, so great to get out of the house and get some fresh air!), and now cleaning up the aftermath … so crazy. So fun. So rewarding. So grateful and happy.

I can’t believe I blogged EVERY DAY for ten days at the busiest time of the year. Wow. I don’t have an excuse now for not doing it any other time, do I? 🙂

Joy and Christmas blessings to all … and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ~Ephesians 4:2

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Letting Go

There’s something that often strikes me when I hear remarkable stories about people who overcome tragic abuses, losses, and injustices and go on to live lives full of joyful and dynamic impact. How do they DO that, I wonder?

It’s a sharp contrast to others I encounter who DON’T have that same peace and joy and freedom—who live life scarred and beaten down, bitter, and full of self-pity.  What makes the difference?

I think it’s the freedom of forgiveness.

I put a little post on my FB page the other day about unforgiveness vs. forgiveness and—oh my goodness!—it was my most commented post ever!  I think it’s because the tension between the two is so common to the human experience.

The desire NOT to forgive, to hang on to offenses, is a temptation for all of us.  So why don’t we ‘fess up, admit it, and talk about it more?

Jesus did.  He said we’re supposed to forgive those who hurt and offend us even up to “seventy times seven.” That’s a pretty radical suggestion! It’s way beyond our humanness sometimes.

That’s why I think much of the work necessary to truly forgive happens first through prayer. Prayer is a way I can interact personally with the Father’s heart—a heart that is full of infinite forgiveness and unconditional mercy and love (unlike my own).

That’s not religion.  That’s relationship. When I connect with Him, by faith and through prayer, those qualities can become mine. He gives me the desire and power to forgive, and the strength I need to do so. That’s the only way I can fulfill Jesus’ radical commandment to forgive seventy times seven.

I’m speaking from experience here, not just theory. I’ve had to forgive hurts and injustices just like anyone else. Big ones and little ones.  It’s a day-to-day exercise, isn’t it?

One of the biggest forgiveness tests for me came once when I had to go back into the very environment where I had been been wounded and subjected to a significant injustice.  Could I do it? It was hard to think of coming face to face with my offenders. But having forgiven them first in my heart, through prayer and in concert with my Father’s heart, I was ready to do it with my actions.

It was one of the most healing things I’ve ever done.

When we forgive, WE’RE the ones who are set free. It’s not so much about letting the other person “off the hook.” WE are the ones released from the prison of unforgiveness.  That was certainly my experience! And I hope it’s yours, too.

 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13

 

Is there a person, an offense, or an injustice you want to forgive, but are having trouble with it?

Can I suggest doing it WITH GOD FIRST, in your heart, through prayer?

THEN put it into practice with your thoughts, words, and actions.

Was it any easier?

I’d love to hear your forgiveness stories!