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THE HOLIDAYS JUST GET TO HIM

28 Nov

By Terry Loving

Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

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In times past I was big on holidays, but not anymore – too commercialized. I performed all the traditional rituals my family passed down, until one day I decided, “Enough!” As I studied the Bible and learned the truth about Christmas and pagan holidays, I was set free from the stressful rituals, and spending money I could not afford to spend.

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Thanksgiving Day I will cook a meal and break bread with family. Giving thanks is something that we should do all year long; even in the midst of trials we can name our blessings. Because most family members are off from work, this is a good day to get together.

No doubt, the holidays can either be pleasant or stressful. In the case of domestic violence, many people dread this time of the year. The abuse takes place throughout the year, but somehow the holidays add fuel to the fire. Personally, I believe that many abusers use the stress of the holidays to excuse their violence. On the other hand, commercialization and the present economy will raise the incidents of violence in American homes.

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For numerous households, plenty and abundance is a memory. Agencies that feed the homeless and less fortunate are experiencing massive increases of people who are in dire situations. Many children will not have Christmas as times past; for mom, dad or both have been laid off from their jobs. The stress level in volatile homes has risen, and domestic violence shelters are filled, or filling to their capacity. Violence is on the rise in America, especially in our homes.

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Also during the holidays, much alcohol and other mind altering substances are abused. Unfortunately, too many abused women will excuse their beatings as, “The holidays just get to him.” The financial stress and strain may be a reality, but the violence is still a choice. The children may have to do without this Christmas; however, this is no reason for explosive tempers and abuse. Having a family discussion about the reality of your situation is much better than lashing out in pride. Men especially have a difficult time when they cannot provide for their families. They feel less than men, and feel that they let their families down. Drinking alcohol will not dissolve those feelings. They will resurface, and any little irritant will be an excuse to exhale with violence and abuse.

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The only “tip” that is a sure bet to avoid violence during the holidays is to not be around the abuser. Whether this means leaving abuse, or agreeing to have separate holidays, there aren’t many ways around it. If the track record of his behavior dictates that he gets more violent during the holidays, you can bet this holiday will be no different. And most times, what “gets to him” are usually things that are minor or stupid. Anything for release – abusers are not choosey. Accepting the abusers apology the next day is easier than leaving in most cases. And the “stress of the holidays” will be another excuse to abuse and ruin what could be a warm family gathering.

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America has commercialized holidays to the point of dire consequences. In relationships, we tend to push each other to “Do more!” To erase the sadness on the children’s faces, a mother may push the father to “find a way” to get presents for their offspring. A father may spend what little the family has on booze and drugs. Afterwards he may feel guilty; however, the family’s disappointment fuels his excuse to be violent and abusive. After all, the alcoholic feels that his family should understand that he “has a problem.”

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There are numerous scenarios that plague many homes during the holidays. I remember many a Christmas when our home was wrecked by violence. Alcohol was always present in our home, and more so during the holidays. It is a horrible nightmare for a child to witness violence in the home – especially on a day they wait for all year for joy and presents.

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I know many of my readers will disagree, but hey, I am all about truth. December 25th was never proven Biblically that this is the day of our Lord’s birth. There is an ongoing disagreement as to the time of year Jesus Christ was born, and under what conditions. Most of all, the Bible does not endorse December 25th as a Holy day, or a day to be celebrated or acknowledged. I will never understand why we give gifts to one another on this day. It isn’t our birthday, and what gifts do we give to Christ? Is He acknowledged in most homes – I think not.

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Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

“For unto you is born this day,…. Day is here put for a natural day, consisting both of night and day; for it was night when Christ was born, and the angels brought the tidings of it to the shepherds. The particular day, and it may be, month and year, in which Christ was born, cannot be certainly known; but this we may be sure of, it was in the fulness of time, and at the exact, season fixed upon between God and Christ in the council and covenant of peace; and that he was born, not unto, or for the good of angels; for the good angels stand in no need of his incarnation, sufferings, and death, having never fell; and as for the evil angels, a Saviour was never designed and provided for them; nor did Christ take on him their nature, nor suffer in their stead: wherefore the angel does not say, “unto us”, but “unto you”, unto you men; for he means not merely, and only the shepherds, or the Jews only, but the Gentiles also; all the children, all the spiritual seed of Abraham, all elect men; for their sakes, and on their account, and for their good, he assumed human nature; see Isaiah 9:6.”

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Technically, if at all acknowledged, Christmas should be a day of atonement:

“The characters of this new born child follow, and which prove the tidings of his birth to be good, and matter of joy:

a Saviour; whom God had provided and appointed from all eternity; and had been long promised and much expected as such in time, even from the beginning of the world; and is a great one, being God as well as man, and so able to work out a great salvation for great sinners, which he has done; and he is as willing to save as he is able, and is a complete Saviour, and an only, and an everlasting one: hence his name is called Jesus, because he saves from sin, from Satan, from the law, from the world, from death, and hell, and wrath to come, and from every enemy…”

A “Savior” was born to redeem the souls of sinful mankind, and establish an eternal relationship with God the Father. The day that Christ was born was not a day of an exchange of gifts. The gifts that were “presented” were given to the baby Jesus:

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THE VISIT OF THE MAGI

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

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Where do we get the idea that we are to go in debt, to give sometimes – useless gifts to one another? What gifts do we offer Christ on this day? What sacrifices? What honor? Sadly, we do not honor ourselves or others that Christ died for. Homes are wrecked on this day by violence, and one of the excuses is financial poverty. Parents are stressed to the max because they cannot buy gifts for their children; children are sad because they have no tree, nor gifts to open on Christmas day.

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If celebrating Christmas is your thing, I am not knocking you. I am telling it like it really is. The truth hurts sometimes, but it must be told just the same. We would have fewer things to fight about in our homes if we separated our lives from the world. When we buy into the hype that we should live a certain way, possess an abundance of things, and try to keep up with our neighbors, we are headed for trouble.  Satan is the god of this world, and he has done a magnificent job duping mankind through greed and materialism. The marketing world seduces our children, and they plead for material things that parents cannot afford. We go into debt to buy things that cannot satisfy, and we can hardly pay the light bill. The Bible says that “godliness with contentment is great gain,” – what a beautiful, peaceful lesson to be learned. Here is another way of looking at this truth:

Proverbs 15:16 “Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.”

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Not only does violence in the home increase during the holidays, but within our shopping malls. People do some crazy things like camping outside of stores to be the first in line for bargains. When the doors finally open, supposed civilized human beings trample one another, and literally fight over toys and other merchandise they set their sights on. Shopping rages cause harm to innocent people, such as the case with the woman who pepper sprayed other customers at a Walmart.

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What in the world are we teaching our children? Our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

It is more blessed to give than to receive: it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also.”

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If the holidays “set him off,” – or her – perhaps it is time to rethink the holidays.  There is no excuse for abuse, and holiday pressures can only add to volatile situations, if they are allowed to.  Leaving abuse may not be an option, and avoiding the violence may be impossible if the abuser has not repented, and changed his ways.

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In addition to the holidays, the cold weather brings everyone indoors, and there is more family interaction.  Sometimes this is a good thing, and other times this is a match waiting to be struck – with flickering flames that escalate to violence and abuse. Not everyone can tolerate too much family togetherness.  During the holidays the kids are home, bickering and getting on each others nerves; Dad wants peace and quiet when he comes home from work, and mom is plain wore out. And let us not forget the family members that don’t get along with your spouse, or girlfriend – another source of tension.

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I do not have any tips to avoid violence during the holidays – except leave if possible.

However, I will offer some suggestions that may help. If the whole family is onboard, that makes it all the better.

  1. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, nursing home, soup kitchen or anywhere your assistance will be welcomed.
  2. Make home-made gifts if you cannot afford to buy them. (They are treasured more).
  3. Play board games as a family
  4. Get out the cook book and try new recipes
  5. Avoid friends and family that spark tense feelings
  6. Find outdoor activities to do as a family – even in the cold – for a little while
  7. Remind each other of how blessed you are for what you have (make it a game and the winner with the longest list gets a prize) – this way as your list grows, your family will become more aware of how blessed you really are compared to others.
  8. If you lost your job or your home, beating up family members will not bring them back. You will lose much more – their respect.
  9. Sell some of your unwanted possessions to bring in money
  10. Last but not least, draw closer to God.

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If possible, get back to what is important, love and family.  If this list is too simplistic for your situation, by all means make a safety plan. Teach your children to dial 911, and be prepared to leave for a place of safety. Program your phone to speed dial the police, a friend or family members for help. Even if you cannot stay on the phone, if you dial 911 and hang up, the police will most likely call you back, and come to your home. Leave the phone off the hook if possible. Here is a link to a woman who successfully left abuse. She lists many ways to prepare for your exit from a violent home. Click here for more.

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I will never add to this list of suggestions to walk on eggshells. You do that enough throughout the year. You are not to blame for the outbursts and the violence.  Your abuser may use the holidays as more ammunition to exhibit abuse, but the blame rests with the abuser completely.  Stay safe.

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1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

Police say domestic violence increases during holiday season

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Domestic Abuse Escalates with Holiday Season

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Studies Show Domestic Violence Decreases During Holiday Season

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Holiday Stress Brings Anxiety and Abuse

“SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, also afflicts some individuals during this time of year. SAD is a type of depression associated with the low light conditions experienced during long, dark winter months.”      (No excuse for abuse)

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North American Domestic Violence Shelter Locations

Undisclosed locations to protect the abused.

SAMPLE SAFETY PLAN – TO LEAVE ABUSE

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Why Abusive, High-Conflict, Personality-Disordered Women Frequently Ruin Christmas

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UNNECESSARY AGGRESSION DURING THE HOLIDAYS – SAD

Police pepper spray rowdy shoe shoppers in Seattle

“SEATTLE (AP) — Police used pepper spray to break up fights among pushing and shoving customers waiting outside a Seattle area mall to buy the first Nike retro Air Jordan basketball shoes that went on sale early Friday.”

“Across the country, at least four people were arrested at a suburban Atlanta mall after a crowd of customers broke down a door before a store selling the Air Jordans opened.”

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Ga. police: 4 arrested in mad dash for Air Jordans

“Officers said they had to break a car window to get two toddlers out after a woman went in after the shoes. They said she was taken into custody when she returned to the car.”

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New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

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http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

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1 Comment

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in EXCUSES FOR VIOLENCE/ABUSE

 

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One response to “THE HOLIDAYS JUST GET TO HIM

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