During the holidays, I often wonder about the nuances of familial relationships. In other words, I wonder,
“Why can’t people just get along?”

The holidays are generally considered a time of friendly get-togethers complemented by bountiful meals of delicious waist-altering food accompanied by loving and happy hearts.

But all too often, the holidays are a time when people stand firm to maintain their bitterness and hold tight to grudges and there’s not a lot of love going around.

This makes me really sad … mostly because holding grudges never works. It doesn’t teach anyone anything and it means everyone stays stressed out and unhappy. If someone hurts you and you are upset about it, that’s understandable. But after a reasonable amount of time (and that doesn’t mean years and years), you must let it go. Letting it go doesn’t mean you pronounce the other person right and yourself wrong; that doesn’t mean you were not hurt; it just means you are not going to let the other person’s one (or more) mistakes harden your heart and take away your joy.

If you want to teach someone a lesson, teach them a lesson in forgiveness. Bitterness and resentment and the cold shoulder will never open another person’s eyes to your pain. Forgiveness may open their eyes … and it may not. But it is the only thing that will help your heart to heal and make you feel better. And isn’t making yourself feel better much more important than making someone else feel bad?

Don’t make decisions based on who was right and who was wrong or what you can do to make a point or make someone feel bad about what they did or did not do. Make decisions based on love … giving love even when it isn’t given to you and forgiving even when the other person is not sorry. Demonstrate love instead of pride. Do it for yourself and for your family.

Accept your family member’s faults. After all, they have to accept yours. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter whose faults are worse or whose mistakes are worse. Everyone is annoying in some way. Everyone screws up. Everyone makes mistakes. Forgive and love and be at peace. And bring peace to your family at the same time. What a wonderful gift to give at Christmas and all year long 🙂