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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. What a beautiful, heartfelt, and honest post. It’s so true we take our family for granted! My dad has been very ill and just this past month was put on a transplant list, we all know this may be our last holiday with him. I will cherish every moment and know how lucky I am to have each day, and live with no regrets. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for making me think. It’s a fine line between “tough love” and Christlike love. I’m sure your brother understands. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. Your words ring true, and are a great reminder to savor and cherish the ones we love, and to put others above our own selfish tendencies. I needed this message of forgiveness, so thank you!

  4. Oh Kristen, Im so so sorry! I know this year has been rough. I appreciate your honesty in this post, and your reminder about appreciating what we DO have. Thank you!

  5. I had a big response written…. but it was more of a blog post…you know me!! ;)

    I hold my family members, those who will not be sharing another Christmas with us…and those most likely experiencing their last, in my heart. Your loss is so fresh, I hope that you can enjoy this holiday with your family….and not let regrets overshadow your joy in them.

    This Christmas I’m also joyful for my “extended family” …this includes you!!

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I think I’ll send it to a family member who’s cut herself off from her family for reasons no one understands. There’s a 99 percent chance it will just annoy her and make her even angrier than she is. But I’ll take the 1 percent chance that it will resonate.

  7. Thank you sooo much for this post, and the reminder to never take family for granted.

  8. Life is funny that way, isn’t it? It kicks you when you least expect it. But, remembering your brother and the time you shared is the best you can do. Who knew your brother would pass? No one. So, no regrets and forgive yourself. The universe has its reasons for what happens in your life.

    My father’s birthday is the day after Christmas. When he was alive, we never did much because he never wanted us to. After he passed of lung cancer in October 2004, I now take the time to pause and celebrate his birthday. I softly sing Happy Birthday and tell him I love him. It’s the least I can do!

    Happy Holidays!

  9. This is a beautiful post in all of its sadness. I can’t imagine how hard it is to have the realization of those loved ones not being able to spend any day with you, let alone the holidays – but I appreciate your message – to not take for granted those we have. I lose my mother several years ago and her birthday is a week before Christmas. We never got together before she passed, but now every year on her birthday my uncle and I get together and celebrate for her. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. I hope you and your family can find joy in past holiday memories while making new ones this year.

  10. This is something we all should remember. Thinking of you and your family this season, sweet friend.

  11. Agreed. Whole heartedly and with a wee tear in my eye.


  12. Kristen, This is what Christmas should be about. Thank you for this honest, poignant story. You touched my heart.

  13. So important to remember – thank you, Kristen!

  14. I couldn’t agree more Kristen. Wishing you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas!

  15. Kristen,
    I’ve been thinking of you a lot as we’ve been preparing for Christmas.

    It’s tough. I’m not going to lie about that. It’s hard to lose someone you love. Some days the grief hits you out of nowhere and other days, you can honestly laugh about funny things they said or did without your heart feeling like it is going to burst.

    Your family has been through so much this year. I’m thinking of you all and praying you have a Merry Christmas.

    Love you, sweet friend!

  16. I wish I could remember this as much in the moment as I do later. It is so hard to break out of that “brattiness” as you refer to it. So sorry for your loss and I will remember this post when I start heading there.

  17. I’ve had holidays like that; and I still do. I’ve lost a sister, and my mom, and Christmas is such a hard holiday for all of us even though we never talk about it. I know what it’s like to have a hole in your family portrait. I’ve taken more time in the last few years to appreciate what Christmas is really all about. But I can’t make others feel the same way. Still, I’ll treat them with the priority they deserve because I never want to forget what it’s like to lose one of them.

    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, Kristen.

  18. Thank you for sharing this Kristin. Thank you for your honesty, and what an important reminder to us all to cherish our true gifts- the people we love.

  19. An honest thought provoking post Kristen. Thank you for sharing what is in your heart. I am sending you a warm hug full of love from Cape Town and wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas. May the love and peace of the Christ child fill your hearts and homes. Its tough going through what you are and having to cross milestones. Thoughts and prayers are with you xx

  20. Thank you for writing this post, I’m sure it was difficult to put this up. I know I need a reminder, especially this time of year when things are crazy, to try to be more forgiving and patient.


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