Christmas – the celebration of reconciliation
Very soon – during the coming Christmas season, we will spend some time with our close and distant family members. At the very least we will make phone calls and write e-mails to reconnect to some degree. Christmas - the celebration of the ultimate reconciliation, reminds us of our need to feel that we belong to a family and that we are accepted and loved for who we are. Deep inside we long to be reconciled with our family and basically to anybody we feel connected to. I believe that the vast majority of us are thinking about ways how our relationships can become better during this coming holiday season. We are made to function with love – that’s why we have this deep desire to feel loved and are willing to sacrificially love others.
While the Christmas season seems to be perfect to experience peace, reconciliation and restoration in our relationships, all too often the opposite is experienced and this special holiday can pass once again leaving us frustrated, hurt and with the option to continue to live with our strategies of self-protection, resentment and isolation.
How can we break through this negative cycle? It starts with the recognition that I can only manage myself – meaning that nobody else can manage me and that I cannot manage others. It sounds simple but it is not easy. A while back something happened between a relative and I that left me feeling betrayed. I had to process through the fact that I had to make a decision whether or not to forgive that person. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person as it is a one-way issue. The trouble is that the pain of the hurt not only remained after forgiving the person but seemed even bigger as the relative was not in a position of understanding how I felt and reconciliation was not happening. I tried to let this person see what was in my heart but realised that it came out as an accusation. I had to apologize for that and experienced more pain through the lost connection to that person. It takes both parties to reconcile. I can make it easy for the other person to reconcile, I can ask for it and do my part but cannot demand it or make it happen. How did God deal with disconnection towards us? We were the offenders and God could have waited until we would seek reconciliation with Him. Instead he reconciled us with himself through Christ (2 Cor 5:18) lowering the bar really low by fully forgiving us and inviting us to accept His gift to be reconciled with our Father! That is the ultimate reconciliation and home-coming we can ever experience. I’m just thinking that I can probably do more than waiting on my relative to do the first step. It takes humility but I can send out invitations to those people that the door is open. In my case I’m making a decision now to think of ways that would lower the bar to reconciliation for the other person.
What if we would make it a goal to live in forgiveness and to intentionally seek reconciliation with at least one family member this coming Christmas season? We will have heaven’s momentum on our side and our lives will be enriched.