Can you feel it? The holiday season is here and, as usual, cold weather awaits its best friend: the warmth of angry humans. I can’t help but notice sighs of anxiety escaping the hearts of friends as they discuss holiday plans.
Friend A: “Are you excited for [insert holiday here]? Any travel plans to see your family?”
Friend B: “[Sigh] Yeah, I’m hoping [insert family member] won’t ask when I’m going to get a ‘real job’. I also hope [insert family member] takes it easy on the whiskey this year. Holidays always turn into a big fight.”
Does this sound vaguely familiar? If so, you are not alone. It’s a conversation that will be muttered countless times during the next few months. Family dynamics are messy, complicated, and show no mercy for the sake of a holiday.
Take a deep, wholesome, nearly-suffocating breath, and keep reading.
Family dynamics may not show mercy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you to introduce it. Providing love and grace to those who do not deserve it will encourage peace; not dissolve it. I believe everything happens for a reason and the family you were born into is no exception to the rule.
If you try to avoid your overly-confrontational alcoholic cousin every year, maybe this year it’s time to sit down and let her talk. Listen, without judgment, to the inner workings of your cousin’s mind. Graze tenderly over her defensive words and discover her deep need for love and attention; her need to be accepted, which she’s tried numbing since college.
The holiday season isn’t about finding the perfect gifts or cooking a favorite dish; it’s about love. It’s about buying a plain red cup of coffee for the person behind you in line, extending extra kindness to strangers, and keeping an eye open for those in need of soul-warming love.
Happy holiday season, friends!