Today and tomorrow families will gather around tables and trees and television sets.
Some folks together for the first time in twelve months and maybe a few for the first time in years.
All the cheesy Christmas movies promise that reunion is sweet.
They roll out the fantasy that old wounds are easily patched up and the smell of turkey and apple pie casts a spell on broken hearts and broken relationships.
But that’s not usually how it goes in real life.
Instead of sweet release and precious moments, many families will experience rising tension as one person tries to bite her tongue and another fuels his anger. Politics, religion, personal lifestyle choices and old slights work to raise the temperature of the room to boiling.
And then it happens: He storms out, she leaves in tears and another “Hap-Hap-Happy Holiday” is in the books.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
It can be different.
If, instead of letting words hit our ears only long enough to form a quick rebuttal, we choose to listen-really listen–we can change everything.
If, instead of jumping to conclusions we commit to lavish love, we can undo the knots that form in stomachs and smooth out the furrowed brows.
If instead of making a point we choose to make a friend, we will endure fewer arguments and foster greater compassion.
As many times as it takes to wash the worry out of a room. As often as necessary to weave a web of welcome.