Christmas is a season where we celebrate the interesting blend of the secular and the sacred. There is a sense of the fanfare of lights, trees, gift-giving, and family time. We attend church services and have private reflections about the gift of the child who brings hope, peace, salvation, and connection to God. One common Christmas theme is relationships.
I read an article where a family decided that the gift-giving was getting to a point of exasperation since everyone had most of what they wanted, so they decided to give the gift of relationship to one another. They chose to rent a home over Thanksgiving weekend for the entire family. They made sure they planned fun together. They created interpersonal moments of meaningful interactions that were deeper than usual and had the chance to get to know each other better. They focused on the intergenerational relationships within their family, discovering more about their history and the lessons learned from history and wisdom. Then they celebrated family Friday which eclipsed Black Friday.
I recognize Thanksgiving has come and gone. However, it can still be possible to give the gift of relationship this Christmas. I wonder if we were as intentional about our relational time as we are with our gift-giving time that we might have the most meaningful Christmas ever!
I love our family gift-giving times. But what is more valuable is the time we spend together. I have the blessing of 3 grandchildren and having them enjoying themselves in the middle of Christmas is the most gratifying part of the day. We laugh, enjoy each other, play games, and find the simple fun of being together, swapping stories, and having pure family fun.
I hope as we all plan our family gatherings, we will place value on the gift of each other. That is something that cannot be replaced in our family experiences. Setting the stage for regulating family time that’s not full of angst, stress, and sometimes frustration is so important to making our holiday celebrations peaceful, joyful, and meaningful. Being intentional about those special moments can make a huge difference to the outcome of our family enjoyment.
I hope you have the time and opportunity to give the gift of each other in your family this year.
Maybe grandparents will get to share their Christmas memories with the grandkids. Maybe some walls of conflict that have emerged can be resolved. Maybe a great deal of fun can be experienced together. I hope you can find that level of resonant connection in your family as you enjoy your gatherings in this holiday season.