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. Vanessa @frenchfoodiemom says

    Kristen, I am so sad for your loss and for how difficult facing this first holiday without your brother must be. Thank you for sharing, for being so honest, and for inspiring us to appreciate those around us.

  2. says

    I write this with a lump in my throat and tears stinging my eyes. Thank you for sharing this Kristen. We all need to take a moment to reflect on what you’ve said so lovingly. I wish you and your family a very special Christmas. I’m sure your brother will be with you.

  3. says

    Simply beautiful. I love your honesty, your kindness, your heart, your compassion, and your huge capacity to love. Hugs, love, and blessings to you this holiday season and always, my sweet friend.

  4. Pat Wogan says

    Thank you for hosting the family Christmas! The expectations for the holidays are so great and somewhat unrealistic. We all want our families to be like a Norman Rockwell painting. I’ll bet even Norman Rockwell’s family had their little glitches. Families are held together by genes and love…and the hope that this year will be perfect! Even if it isn’t perfect, it will be wonderful! Love to you for reminding us that forgiveness is the real reason for the season! We will miss Larry, but we will have his children to remind us that his legacy goes on! We will miss all those who have gone on before and who are watching from Heaven.(I wonder who Grandma is having write her list of attendees!)

  5. says

    Thanks for this brave and beautiful reminder, Kristen. I couldn’t agree more. Danny’s grandmother passed away on New Year’s Eve a few years go back, so the holiday’s never come around without us thinking back to that night.

  6. says

    Life has a funny way of tapping us on the shoulder and reminding us of what’s important. Sometimes too late. We all wish we could turn back the clock and take back things we say in confidence and in frustration. The fact is we’re human, we make mistakes and we learn from them.

    Happy holidays to you and your family, Kristen! This is the season for family and loved ones.

  7. Susan says

    Thank you for reminding all of us how important it is too appreciate our family since we never know how long any of us will be here.

  8. Laurie says

    So beautifully written and so very true. Thanks for this important reminder as we often get caught up in the little things this time of the year, rather than savoring what the season is really all about. I am thinking of you, my dear friend, and keeping you and your entire family in my prayers at this bittersweet time. It’s been quite a year for all of you and I hope that 2012 brings nothing but happiness your way. I miss you!! XOXO

  9. says

    Very important reminder for how to live everyday of our lives. Appreciate you sharing this part of you… this part that must still hurt and ache… you are in our prayers. Much love!

  10. says

    Wow! What a powerful post. I didn’t attend a family gathering the week before my brother died because I was mad at my mom. I swore from then on I would attend every one whether I felt like it or not. I missed precious time with my brother that I will never get back.

  11. says

    Thank you for sharing this.
    That ceramic tree makes me think of my Grandma. My mom made her one like that over 30 years ago! The sentiment also makes me think of her.
    So sorry for your loss. I’m sure this will be a very difficult Christmas for your family, but I hope there is joy as well.

  12. Kim B. says

    Wow! I’m sure this was very hard for you to write, but know it will make a difference to someone struggling with family or friend issues this Christmas season.

  13. Pam Kennedy says

    Ya made me cry Kristen as we cherish Bob’s brother, Pat, and his few days left on this earth. May our family embrace, honor and love him for the minutes we do have left this holiday season. And, may you remember the precious memories you have of your brother clear back to your childhood. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. Love you Kristen.


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