Family Lessons from the Christmas story.

By Gloria Mwaniga

Maybe its because Christmas morning meant new Bata shoes and lacy dresses, or perhaps it was the meeting together of all family members no matter how far they lived, or grandma’s turkey and geese that would chase us around the compound but ended up fried and soupy on the wide colored plastic plates on this particular day, whatever it was, Christmas was basically the best time of the year.
Another special moment that shall remain forever recaptured in my mind was when we were told the beautiful Christmas story of baby Jesus being born in a manger, I listened, awed as Dad, Mum or Grandma told us the story for perhaps the one hundredth time.
Later on, when I was old enough, I read the story and got many lessons that I like looking back to and sharing in the spirit of Christmas.
Lesson one: Love and acceptance.
Joseph, a single man who had just proposed to his girlfriend didn’t expect to hear that she was expecting a child that was not his, yet he went ahead, married Mary her and took care of both her and the child .Truth be told, Joseph had an option of quietly divorcing Mary, and he had considered it, but because he loved her, he stayed with her. In dealing with our family members, we realize that they too have their faults and aren’t perfect, but like Joseph; we can resolve to be a little blinder to the faults of others, overlook these weaknesses and faults and choose to accept and love them anyway.
Lesson two: Generosity
Little is spoken of the owner of the inn in whose manger Jesus was born, the man, not having any room for the carpenter and his wife, offered them the only place he had, the animal shade. His generosity ,though he had little to offer, proved fruitful as that is exactly where the baby Jesus was born, and so he ended up being a historical character in the story of Christmas. This Christmas, because of the hard economic times we have encountered, we may not be able to buy our loved ones all the gifts we would want to, however, we could offer them what we have; kind words and laughter and a special home cooked meal, after all, most of the memories we have of our childhood are mostly about the times we spent together and less about what toy car or clothes we got at Christmas.
Lesson three: putting first things first
The shepherd boys were taking care of their flocks but on hearing the news, they abandoned everything they were doing and ran off to meet their new king and worship him. These lads didn’t have to attend Stephen covey’s seminars or read his book ‘First Things First’ they knew in their hearts that more important than their job was seeing the newborn child, and us, even with our busy schedules and crazily hectic lifestyles, we need to know when to abandon everything else and spend time with our loved ones. Spending quality time with our families is a most noble and important task especially during this Christmas season.
Lesson four; Sacrifice
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young engaged girl. In most cases, a young girl in love wouldn’t let anything get in the way of her love, yet this girl, fully ,knowing the consequences of being unmarried yet with child, still said yes to mothering the Christ. At that point, she didn’t even know if Joseph would still want to marry her yet she was ready to sacrifice her happiness, name and future plans for a mission she valued.
This holiday, take some time to do an act of sacrifice for the sake of another person. It could mean denying yourself something you really wanted to have in order to make someone else’s dream come true, or using up your holiday money to buy food for a homeless person or even swallowing up your pride, approaching that family member or in-law you fell out with and asking for forgiveness.

Lesson five: Evergreen love:
Like the evergreen Christmas tree, aim to keep your relationships alive by focusing on the little things that we tend to ignore ,keep your love evergreen by speaking the love language of your loved ones. .
It could be by complementing them, spending quality time, reminiscing, doing little acts of service, buying a gift or even giving them a hug. These things, which we tend to forget once we get too familiar with others, could be the Midas touch that could flourish your relationships. Happy Holidays.

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