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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Comments

  1. says

    All my family are gone except for my husband, an uncle, a cousin and her daughter. I’d give anything to have my folks, grandparents and best friend around our small table…Life is short – share the love today…My heart goes out to you.

  2. says

    Wow. I could have nearly written this myself, only it happened to be the Christmas of 2007. My brother, Jim, had COPD, caught a cold and died of respiratory failure just 8 days into 2008. Even now, 4 Christmases later, I wish I had talked with him and made 100% sure he knew that despite the previous years of tension that I loved him. Hugs to you and your family.

  3. says

    Well put. We just can never know when this time might be the last time. It’s a sentiment we should keep close to our hearts always … my family almost lost someone very recently (thank goodness we didn’t) and it was a huge wake up call. What happens next is really what matters now.

  4. Michelle Coffey says

    Beautiful Kristen!
    Just had the same “convo” with a friend that is having Christmas sibling drama! It’s hard during the Holidays to keep perspective. You are truly a blessed woman and the sharing of your wisdom is definately helpful to all!

  5. says

    Such a heartbreaking post, and a very true one. This has been quite a year for you and your family, but you are such a kind and strong woman and they’re lucky to have you. None of us are perfect, but you love them and that is what counts. Merry Christmas Kristen!! You’re all in my prayers.

  6. Melissa Nunes says

    Your post made me think…people can be so MANY things to us. It is just so complicated sometimes to have any kind of a relationship with others. I guess that’s why I have DOGS.

  7. says

    I think about these things a lot, especially since a lot of losses in my family in the last year and a half. You’re so right – we must take every chance we get to be together, to help each other because these chances slip away and never return. I know it will be a tough Christmas for you, but I wish you peace and good health for the holiday season and for next year.

  8. says

    This was a wonderful post to read especially right here during the holidays. Thanks for the reminder of how we need to love each of our family members.

  9. Diane Kramp says

    Oh Kristen- so well said- you brought tears to my eyes. I am still si sorry for your loss this year. And I appreciate you posting this- I will make a point to look at my “annoying” family differently this weekend. I have a tendency toward bratty self moments too – not going to do it this year. Bring them on- cant wait to hang out with and enjoy those I have while I have them. We should apply it to friends too. Miss you guys! Have a Merry Christmas and wonderful new year!

  10. says

    Beautiful post Kristen. Such true words that we all need to be reminded of. It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things. When we stop and take a step back and look with fresh eyes it’s amazing what you can see. Thanks for the reminder sweet friend. Hugs to you.

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