Guest blogger Cat Brennan reflects on a well-known, well-loved prayer to guide us through the true spirit of the Season.
Deck the Halls! Away in a Manger. Silent Night. White Christmas.
Do these titles bring up wonderful, sweet, or warm and fuzzy thoughts? Do they jiggle funny thoughts of little ones’ Christmases? Or happy times making fudge and decorating the tree?
Or … do you remember ducking for cover when a beer bottle went flying? How about covering your ears when Dad came home late last night, and Mom wants to know where he’s been? Or wondering why Aunt Megan can’t come for dinner, and what is lockup anyway?
Both sets are vivid and realistic remembrances of Christmases past. Both happen in all kinds of families and in all walks of life.
We can’t change the past, but we can change how we view it. Going forward, we can alter how we react to these kinds of Holidays.
How? That is the big, single word question.
Look no further than the Serenity Prayer, penned by American theologian and writer Reinhold Neibuhr (1892-1971).
(For the full script, see: https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-serenity-prayer#full-serenity-prayer)
“God grant me the Serenity to change the things I can, Courage to accept the things I cannot change, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
The prayer is actually longer than these three lines that is often attributed to AA. However, the essence is the same.
The great man of the Old Testament, Solomon, is known for his invaluable wisdom. If you ask God for any one thing today. I highly recommend asking for Wisdom. She is a great partner.
Courage! Who doesn’t need courage when facing a cousin who regularly puts her life in danger with pills of dubious origin and alcohol in fearful quantities?
Acceptance. Your dad is a grumpy old man who is not going to change, so sit back and listen to his stories while you can. In between his grumbling. You’ll learn something and he won’t be around forever.
And change. Ask God to change YOUR life, Your attitude, and YOUR reasoning—even Your heart. He is so gracious to honor those kinds of prayers. Then, in the blink of an eye, you’ll wake up one day and realize that you’re no longer mad at your mom, or your sister, or that crazy high school friend.
The only way to a peaceful and joyous life during the holidays is through the Love of Christ. His mercy and His grace really are sufficient. Catch that beer bottle and toss it in the trash. Pray for your folks to find peace. And Megan? Pray for her, and the next time you see her, pray with her.
Sometimes we see answers to prayers immediately. At other times, we wonder if God was even listening. Believe me, He is, and He was! But remember, God must deal with that crazy aunty, silly sister, or the sick parent. He’s NOT going to snap His fingers to create change. He gave all of us free will, and He’s certainly NOT going to slap that person silly, even if YOU want to. God will work His grace in their lives and one day, you will see your prayers answered. In. God’s. Perfect. Timing.
Accept that He knows how to answer your prayers. Let go and let God be God.
Cat Brennan’s twenty-five year career in Commercial Radio Broadcasting included every capacity from Ownership and Management, News to Sales, Small Market to Large Market On-Air personality, Country and Western to Top 40, Oldies to Christian Praise and Worship. Her last on-air gig was in Denver, Colorado where her nighttime show reached the better part of four states. Cat is retired now and enjoys her many grandchildren from her five wonderful sons and daughters She resides in Central Virginia, although she was born in West Virginia and grew up in New Mexico. She writes award winning short stories and is currently polishing the draft on her first novel, a cozy mystery. When she’s not writing, Cat enjoys crocheting rag rugs, sewing, and machine embroidery.