Christmas can be one of the most joyful times of the year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus while reconnecting with friends and family. But for many of us, there’s nothing joyful about the holidays because it brings up lots of painful memories from the past. Sometimes Christmas can even feel like the loneliest time of the year. Bitterness and resentment can plague our thoughts as we begin to remember the things we’d rather forget.

No Family is Perfect

But no one is bitter around the holidays right? Bitterness and resentment are for immature people right? Sometimes the most prideful and immature thing we can do is pretend we don’t feel pain. Without admitting there’s something wrong inside of us, there’s no way we can work on how to make things right around us.

When I was a kid, I remember watching the Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation movie. The movie is a comedy about how real family problems can actually draw people closer together if everyone keeps the right attitude. The movie was so funny that I had tears in my eyes from all my laughing; it was super funny! After the movie, I realized that if we have the right perspective, bad experiences around the holidays can turn into memories that can actually bring people closer together.

Often times I’ll hear people say things like, “I’ll never be like my dad/mom,” and then they end up living in reaction to who they don’t want to become. In the past, people who’ve lived in reaction to pain have started wars like Hitler, and they’ve even started terrorist groups like ISIS. Bitterness and resentment don’t just happen overnight. These feelings often start with an unresolved bad experience that slowly evolves into bitterness and resentment.

There’s always going to be a reason to get offended, but there’s never a good reason to stay offended. If Jesus pre-forgave the disciples whom he knew would betray Him, we need to forgive our family members who may have betrayed us.

I’m fortunate to have grown up with both of my parents. Both of them love Jesus and they taught me God’s Word while I was growing up. But most people are not as fortunate as I am. Forgiveness is a one way street between us and God, and when we forgive our offenders, there’s hope for reconciliation.

You Need To Take The First Step

Many of us sit alone around the holidays waiting for someone to call us or talk to us as if the whole world revolves around us. Family can be messy a lot of the times, but if we want to have peace and be fulfilled during this time of the year, we need to be the ones who are reaching out to our aunts, uncle’s, brothers, sisters, father, mother, etc.

The hope that can come during the holidays can be a hope that we create by actively stepping out in faith and contacting relatives that may not want to connect with us. The truth is,¬† how will we know they won’t connect with us unless we try to connect with them first? Everybody in the world can be immature and avoid connecting with their friends and family, but if we start acting the same way everybody else does, we’re stooping down to their level of immaturity.

Many of us don’t have a family who believes in the hope Jesus brings to us, but that’s why we need to be that hope Jesus wants us to bring to them. There is hope for actually enjoying the holidays and spending time with our family. However, the hope that we’re looking for needs to start with us taking a step of faith and reaching out to our family around Christmas time.

Whether our blood-related family wants us around or not does not mean we don’t have a family. As sons and daughters of God, we have brothers and sisters in Christ all around us, and they are our family.

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