Christmas Forgiveness

This time last year I was having a conversation with my husband about my family. “You know? Sometimes I think I would be fine if I just cut contact with some of them.” Of course I didn’t mean it, but I was frustrated. Each year I host our family Christmas and each year, it felt like it was becoming less and less important for people to be here. My brother, Larry, in particular was notorious for never letting me know ahead of time if his family would come, making it difficult for me to plan the amount of food we would need.

I mostly got over my fit in time for our family gathering. We had a great time… Just Dance Competitions, rousing games of Apples to Apples and just hanging out. My brother and his family did show up. I was still feeling annoyed with him though, so I don’t really remember hanging out with him much. I hung out with his kids, but I honestly can’t remember having much interaction with him at all that day.

No one in our family was ill last Christmas. Everyone was healthy and there was no reason for me to believe that things would be any different the next time we all got together. Little did I know that in June 2011 my brother would be diagnosed with cancer and two months later, he would die. I had no idea our next family gathering would be his funeral.

What I wouldn’t give to replay last Christmas… to appreciate the family I have for everything they are. To love them unconditionally and to get over my bratty self and to savor their presence, announced or not, at our family gathering.

Think about your family this Christmas. What would you do differently if you knew someone you loved wasn’t going to be there next year? Is there someone you need to forgive and embrace for who they are? The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is the gift of family, love and forgiveness. Appreciate the people God has placed in your life, for everything they are, because you never know when it may be your last chance to show them your love.

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  1. Elle Hyson says

    Kristen, your moving story brought tears to my eyes and made me appreciate even more what I have. And coincidentally I received a greeting card from a woman who used to be my best friend going back 65 years – she married my favorite cousin and the friendship stood intact. Then in the last five or six years she withdrew and after numerous attempts to communicate with her, I gave up. Now I wonder what to do about the greetings after all this time – there is no way to go back to what we had but I feel I should acknowledge the card, although I strongly believe it was sent by her daughter who lives in the same house with her.
    I want to wish you and yours all the best for the holiday season and for the New Year – may it be a healthy, happy and prosperous one for you. God bless and thanks for your wonderful blog.

  2. says

    This is such an incredibly moving post and I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple days since I read it.

    It’s really made me think and ponder; thank you for this gift.

    And I am so very sorry for your loss and having to go through this first holiday season without your brother. I can’t even imagine and I’m so sorry for that.


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