As the countdown shortens to Christmas Day and we all get nearer to gathering with our families, I have one request, I beg of you. Don’t waste this Christmas and your family get-together nursing an old slight, anger, or indiscretion.
Millions of Americans will gather in the same house, in the art of being alone, nursing whatever wounds happened years ago. This is an absolute waste.
I’m begging you. Extend a hand of grace and mercy. Or at least call a truce during these two, three, four, or five days that you’ve spent so much time and money to go and be with your family. Yes, they’ve hurt you. Yes, you may have a legitimate beef. But they’re your family, and you need them as much as they need you. To waste this time being angry, mad, pouting, sitting in a chair looking like you’d rather be any other place in the world says only one thing about you: “I’m immature, childish, and I know nothing of the grace of God.”
If you are a Christian, you have a certain set of beliefs that require a certain set of behaviors. Those beliefs and behaviors have given you all sorts of contingencies. What do I mean? Well, when your mother, father, siblings, wife, husband, children, grandparents, aunts, and uncles – you fill in the blanks – believe like you do, but don’t behave like they should, you have a contingency. It’s called grace and forgiveness. It’s called mercy. It’s called forbearance, being willing to bear the burden. And that simply means you’re the most mature person in the room.
Take it from a guy who’s violated his own advice way too many times. Be with your family. Smile. Embrace them. Laugh. Tell little stories. When something is said that hurts you, or hits you in a tender spot, pause. Be silent. Think. Does that really need a crass response? Or am I a bigger, better person? I bear the pain. I can bear the indiscretions, intended or otherwise.
This may be your last Christmas. It may be the last Christmas for your family. It may be your last Christmas with someone in your family. Make the most of it. You’ll be glad you did, and your efforts will pay dividends.