Happy Holiday’s: How To Navigate Politics During Christmas
Thanksgiving season is over. We enter a season of snowy weather, peppermint hot chocolate and family gatherings. During these gatherings with relatives you haven’t seen since last year, it can be difficult to find topics to discuss.
Inevitably, that one uncle will bring up a controversial political topic at the dinner table and a massive argument will break out. Some words will be exchanged, yelling might occur and in some cases, a relative may get up and leave.
Politics dictates our lives 365 days of the year. Let Christmas be the one day we simply have fellowship and celebrate the true meaning of the season – the birth of our Lord and Savior. He is worthy of celebration and deserves more attention than our political opinions.
However, it can be hard to stray from the seductiveness of political debates – especially when you are strongly opinionated. This year, in a high political climate, follow these three tips that will help you navigate political discussions during the holidays.
1. Don’t be the first to bring up a controversial topic. As someone who loves politics and discusses them daily, I recognize that my opinions might be just that – my opinions. I may be in the minority with my views. Know your setting. Know your crowd. There is a time and place for everything.
If you know there are individuals who disagree with you and may become heated through the discourse, try to avoid the subject or pull out a favorite card game. I always encourage people to express their opinions regardless if they are agreed upon or not, but the dinner table during the holidays is not the right time or place.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so enjoy the season. Don’t let politics get in the way.
2. Shut down political discussions. When someone brings up a controversial political topic that either you disagree with or you know someone else at the table disagrees with, don’t give in. It can be tempting to jump in with your opinions and observations, but ask yourself “Am I helping the situation, or hurting it?”
Does your response cultivate productiveness and joy, or does it contribute to the messiness and divisiveness that politics causes?
3. Above all else, love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” No matter what happens on Christmas, whether your annoying uncle won’t take the social cue and cut the political talk, or you get heavily invested in the political discourse, let everything you do be done in love, even if you must sacrifice your political opinions for a couple hours.
Truth is, I struggle with this one myself. I get caught up in the excitement of politics and forget there are people on the other side receiving the words I say. Don’t be ashamed of what you believe and speak truth into situations. However, if it distracts you from loving first and demonstrating the fruits of the spirit, then you must refrain from participation.
Jesus is the reason for the season. As cliche as that sounds, it’s a reminder that while Christ was on earth, he lived a life of selflessness. He lived a life of love for others. In all essence of the term, He lived a self-sacrificing life. Although we should live everyday striving to be more like Jesus, I cannot think of a better way to honor His birth, than to show love, patience and respect to those who disagree with me politically.
For some family members, this may be the one exposure a year they have to someone who proclaims the name of Jesus. How are you representing Christ? Are you demonstrating a loving God or one who only loves if you agree politically?
It might be difficult, but it is rewarding to demonstrate love. Christ’s birth was the beginning of a life that demonstrated love from the first to last breath. Let that be the focal point of the dinner discussions. Let that be the comfort and joy you celebrate.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!
MacKenzie is the opinion editor. Follow her on Twitter