The holidays seem to bring out the best and worst in us. It can be an emotional rollercoaster with both highs and lows. The lows may include being disappointed by a gift, upset at not getting invited to a holiday party, or being snubbed by your employer by not receiving a bonus you had expected. Sometimes our hope that our family would all be together is not realized. We plan the perfect meal and someone cancels last minute or the food flops. We didn't receive a Christmas card, gift or even some acknowledgement from loved ones. We long for connection with family or friends, but are disappointed when the invitations aren't extended to us. As a result we may spend the holidays angry and resentful of others or depressed and hurt by loved ones. We spend our time wallowing in our own pity and convincing ourselves that we're unlovable. This all sounds pretty discouraging and upsetting, but it doesn't have to be that way. How can we experience a positive outcome even when things don't run smoothly?
While the holidays can be a time for connection with family and friends, sometimes it's also a time for drama and turmoil. How we deal with the conflict, stress, and chaos determines its impact. Drama can discourage a person from desiring connection. Although every family has a little bit of drama and chaos, we can often predict it ahead of time and anticipate our response. We don't have to allow these issues to ruin our celebration and time with family. Instead we can look beyond the drama and see the value in our relationships. So what should our holiday experience look like?
We should focus on the relationships and the conversations we have with our loved ones. It is a time to share stories, reminisce about the past, and celebrate the blessings of today. Of course Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, and acknowledge how his love for us and his life among us changed everything. The greatest gift we receive through Christ is eternal life and the enormous cost of this gift was his death and resurrection. He dealt with adversity, conflict, and much pain for us and provided a path for us to connect with God forever.
All relationships have pain, conflict, and disappointment, but still have tremendous value and worth. The price for a vital, healthy, and flourishing relationship includes time, commitment, effort, and consistent engagement. We need to talk out and through conflicts without attacking or blaming each other. When we accept our differences and avoid trying to change each other we will all get along better. Focus this holiday on ways to be more connected whether it's through shared activities, positive conversations, or physical affection. We all need relationships and desire to be loved. Let's make an effort to show our love to those around us both in actions and words. Christmas reminds us that our relationships matter and the cost is worth it. Experience the gift of love this holiday season which is priceless.