Today’s Truth

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NLT).

Friend to Friend 

Too often I think the month of December can feel like a race to the finish line. We plan, shop, and arrange experiences trying to soak up the joy of the season, yet we stumble into Christmas morning exhausted and depleted.

This year, let’s do it differently. Instead of focusing on a list of things to be done, let’s shift our perspective to the love of God through the gift of His Son, Jesus. Today’s Truth tells us more about love, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

With these verses as our guide, here are five ideas to help us practically pursue love and trade stress for a smile this holiday season:

  1. Choose to be patient and kind. Instead of becoming frustrated about how much we have to do, let’s remember all that God has done for us. Instead of being distracted by the next thing on our to-do list, we can be present and offer a smile to someone nearby. Rush often removes patience and kindness, but there is enough time in each day to accomplish God’s purposes for that day. With our eyes fixed on Jesus and our hearts intentionally preparing to celebrate His birth, we can let go of our rush, slow down and show love by practicing patience and kindness today.
  2. Replace thoughts of ourselves and what we’re doing, with Jesus and what He did for us. As long as I have me on my mind, love will be hard to find. But when I keep Jesus on my mind, and allow His greatest gift of love to consume me, then I’m free to share that love … to replace arrogance with humility … to replace rude words with those seasoned with grace.
  3. Let God’s love lead us to follow His way and stop fighting so hard for our own way. God’s way teaches us to consider others higher than ourselves and look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-5). And God’s way calls us to lay down our own way and commit to His (Matthew 16:24-25). When we catch ourselves insisting we do things our way, we might very well not be insisting on God’s way.
  4. Rip up the list of wrongs we’re keeping in our hearts. I find myself most easily irritated when I’m keeping score … that silent card in my heart that remembers what someone has, or has not, done for me. When I allow that offense list to linger in my thoughts it gives way to resentment, which chokes love right out of my language. The next time we’re tempted to get out our scorecards, let’s keep a different kind of record – the one that remembers all God has done for us.
  5. Talk more about Jesus and His gift than anything we’re giving or receiving. At times we can be tempted to look around and see how we measure up with our friends, neighbors, co-workers or even other family members. Our expressions of love become about making sure we give the best, most popular gifts; and this pursuit either leads us to envy the ones who get or be proud of what we get. But we have only one thing worth boasting about – that we truly know God through the gift of His Son, Jesus (Jeremiah 9:24). The next time we’re tempted to envy or boast let’s allow that to be our reminder to seek God.

As we practice these five ideas, I pray we trade stress for smiles this season and arrive at Christmas day with full hearts, prepared to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

What is one way you will apply one of these ideas to your life today?

Let’s Pray

Dear God, Thank You for sending Jesus to share Your grace and truth with us. Get my attention today when I fall into a thought pattern that puts me on my mind. Remind me instead of Your life, Your love and Your glory.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

Are some of the ideas on the list above easier for you than others? Which one do you struggle with the most?
Grab a girlfriend to pursue love with this season. Write these ideas down, pray for each other and make a plan to check in with each other once or twice a week to see how it’s going!

More from the Girlfriends

Katy’s Bible study, She Smiles without Fear: Proverbs 31 for Every Woman, dives deeper into how the pursuit of love helps us trade our fears of the future for joy in the present. Click here to grab your copy today or give it as a gift to a special woman in your life.

(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns A SMALL COMMISSION from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)

© 2021 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.

6 Responses to “Trade Stress for a Smile This Season”

  1. Carol says:

    Thanks, Katy for this writing. So timely for me at this time of year.
    Often I slip and fail, with stress. Then, the stress goes into the slip of comparison. Then, the slip goes into envy, which leads to frustration; you get my drift.
    Why can’t we just be a big old, burst of love for friends and family (especially,
    our church family)!
    So, I’m using a hash-tag when sending an old-school Christmas card…#LOVElikeJesus
    We are the lantern-bearers. We are the messengers of the Christmas story, so, my attitude has to be of love and light!
    Thanks so much and blessings to you during this Christmas season.

    • Avatar photo Katy McCown says:

      Hi Carol, I love the image of lantern-bearers. So beautiful and such a gift we can give to others this time of year, especially. Thank you for sharing!

  2. RW says:

    Not just at this time of year, but all year long, I need to work on my impatience, especially when running errands. I often feel rushed and impatient, which leads to stress. Thank you for this reminder.

  3. Beverley says:

    Thank you for these very practical ideas. I was especially struck by numbers three and four. I have a coffee cup that says, “Choose Joy!” I bought it at a time when I needed that reminder. It’s always a choice to do the five things you’ve listed. It’s when I get lazy that I sink into old habits. I appreciate the reminder that I have a choice, and I have the Holy Spirit to empower me to do the things that please my Father.

    • Avatar photo Katy McCown says:

      Hi Beverley! Oh how I understand about sinking in to old habits. Such a great reminder not to get lazy and to choose these every day. And I love what your mug says!!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8