Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Moving through the Holidays with Grace

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Moving through the Holidays with Grace

Article excerpt

A Christian Science perspective.

For some people, the approaching holiday season is full of meaning. They anticipate joyful gatherings with family and close friends. But others eye the calendar with dread. One friend of mine, thinking of a difficult family situation, mentioned the other day that she hopes to "just get through the holidays in one piece." I've found that if one is engaged in conversation long enough with friends or even just in chance encounters, many people admit to having a longtime rift within their family.

This season of increased family gatherings often shines a discomforting spotlight on sore feelings, unresolved disputes, and old resentments. Regret and remorse can rise to the surface, stirring up anger, sadness, and even hopelessness. A verse in the Bible serves as a provocative and encouraging high note: "Let it rather be healed" (Heb. 12:13).

Instead of a Ferris wheel of unhappiness coming around again, why not approach this period as a healing season? The holidays - originally "holy days" - with their underpinnings of consecration, gratitude, peace, and love, lend themselves to heightened spiritual activity. They can be a time of keener awareness of spiritual good, of God's present care and providence, of deep prayer and healing progress for individuals, for families, and in turn for society. Though the love of God is present at every moment and in every season, I like to think of the holiday period as one with great healing potential.

Many quietly savor the possibility of healing in familial relations. They yearn for it deeply. Contrary to the general perceptions, this healing does not depend on the cooperation of another. It happens in one place - in our own hearts.

Years ago, when my family was coming together for an occasion, there had been a longstanding and glaring rift between another family member and me. It was a relationship I had tried to rekindle in every possible way but to no effect. It had settled in as a fact of my life as unlikely to change as the color of my eyes. However, anticipating the reunion, I began to pray. My prayer was simply the desire to love purely, consistently, and with genuine renewal. …

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