Do I have to go home for the holidays?
Going home for the holidays is on my heart because it is that time of year and I am at the stage of life when my home is no longer the house I grew up in, the friends I want to spend time with are not in the place I was raised, and it is time to begin new traditions with my own children. In the midst of all this it hurts my family and my husband’s family not to visit during the holiday season.
My emotions are torn in two directions. I feel guilt that no one has placed on me and sadness for whatever my children will miss out on since they won’t be with their grandparents. I also feel peace because I don’t need to pack or travel, excitement at creating new traditions centered around teaching my children about Jesus’ birth, and hope in what the future holds.
In dealing with my mixed emotions about going home for the holidays I felt pulled toward Matthew 12:46-50. Click the link to read it first.
What happens is that Jesus has been preaching and healing in lots of different places. Word of his ministry is growing and people are following him in huge crowds to hear him speak, have him bless their children with his touch, and to be healed. The “teachers of the law” are also starting to notice him and beginning to try to trip him up with questions. Right in the middle of teaching one day, someone in the crowd tells Jesus that his mother and brothers are there and they would like him to go out to them.
Think about that for a minute. Jesus’ mother and brothers traveled a distance to find Jesus. When they found him he was teaching a huge crowd, so huge that they could not even get through the crowd to him and had to send a message through others to Jesus. Another scenario is that they could get through the crowd but chose to ask Jesus to leave his seat of authority and teaching and come to them. Either way, Jesus basically says he is too busy.
After reading about this in Matthew, Luke, and Mark, studying bible notes, and praying I have learned quite a lot. For the topic at hand, I ask myself how does this apply to what is weighing on my heart: traveling for the holidays. In Jesus’ case, he was not rejecting his family, he was emphasizing his priority toward all God’s children. He had a mission to fulfill and he could not take the time away from the mission for a visit with family.
Now, I know better than anyone that my mission is nothing compared to His. He came to teach a new way of life, to foster personal relationships with Him, and ultimately to die for us. Right now my mission is much simpler and way less glorified. I am a stay-at-home mom. My mission is to take care of my house. To raise my children into godly individuals who are on fire for God, to serve my husband and continue to build our relationship with God as our foundation. God has also trusted me with writing about Him on this blog and leading a divorce care for kids group at my church. None of these things are easy or even necessarily what I thought I wanted to do with my life. However, they are my mission.
When I plan out the holidays I have to choose God’s will in all this. Is traveling home for the holidays going to be detrimental to my mission? No, it isn’t. Actually I think it might be beneficial to it in some ways. This year we have chosen to visit with my side of the family for a few days after Christmas. This lowers stress level in our house because we can be home for Christmas and gift-giving with our children. But, we still get to visit and have quality time with family. You see, my mission can be done from almost anywhere and so, I will go “home” for the holidays.
My question to you is, where are your priorities and how do they line up with Gods? I was convicted by Jesus’ determination and unwillingness to be distracted by the fact that I do have an opportunity to slow down. Maybe you are the same, finding that the right thing is to go be with the ones who have loved you your whole life. Or, maybe traveling “home” for the holidays just doesn’t work. It doesn’t help you complete what God has called you to do. Maybe you are in a different phase of life and you are just starting to share the holidays with your significant others’ family. Maybe your kids don’t want to go anywhere but you feel pressure to make them go. I don’t know what your case is but I know that it doesn’t matter that much.
Whether you see your family on a certain date, whether you spend one day or one week with them. Those things aren’t storing up your treasures in heaven. Those things will be distant memories one day. What is important is keeping your relationship with Jesus Christ alive and letting that pour out to whoever you are with. Remembering, that Jesus was willing to put you before his closest blood relatives because he knew in no time we would all be connected through his blood.
Put your mission first:
Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” Colossians 4:17
And then, whatever your decision, do it joyfully:
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-16
So whatever you choose to do, God bless you and keep you.