The hope of celebrating the holidays with family is that we’ll joyfully celebrate in harmony but sadly, that isn’t always the case.
By Ericka Jones
Not every family matches the cookie-cutter resemblance of the families on Christmas cards or those who participate in quirky family traditions. In fact, some families are downright dysfunctional, much like the Meyers in Almost Christmas.
Just like the Meyers, we also experience sibling rivalry, husbands who’ve got their priorities wrong, and boisterous aunts who’ll correct you quickly if you don’t get your act together.
Despite the chaos, the heart of spending the holidays with family is a little four-letter word we all know: love.
Here are 5 lessons Almost Christmas taught me about love…
1. Family Is Family
We were made for community, so no matter how dysfunctional, chaotic, or weird, our family is important. Families need one another for support, encouragement, and to uplift each other. We need one another in the best of times and in the worst of times.
When we see our family with the potential to be genuinely good, we are free to love them exactly where they are. Instead of expecting them to treat us a certain way, we can love them and model what love looks like in action. We have the power to be examples of love and hope in our families, so let’s make it count this year.
2. Consider Others First
I can’t count how many times I’ve behaved selfishly, acting on my desires before considering how they’d affect my family. Beware of the selfish bug; it’ll bite you without you even realizing it. When we love our family with purity and intention, we consider them when making decisions.
Considering others first doesn’t mean that you give up on what you want. Instead, it means that you create a solution that’s healthy for yourself and for others. My favorite quote from Almost Christmas says it well:
“Our purpose in life is to help others.
If you can’t help them, then at least don’t hurt them.”
While you’re spreading the love this holiday season, don’t forget to love yourself. Here’s why self-love is the best way to show gratitude.
3. The Joy Of Giving
It’s true. It is better to give than to receive. A wise man once told me that in relationships, we must “outserve one another in love,” because when everyone gives, everyone’s needs are met. If you’re going to compete with your family this year, compete to love each other.
Love doesn’t always look like giving beautifully-wrapped gifts… Sometimes it looks like giving someone your time, patience, kindness, or listening without interrupting. Families thrive when they seek to give.
4. Have A Grateful Heart
Being grateful for all the small and big treasures in our lives isn’t always easy. Sometimes, spending time with dodgy cousins and nosy aunts isn’t at the top of our to-do lists. Whatever has or hasn’t happened in the relationships you maintain with your family members, a grateful heart will set a powerful foundation for a successful holiday. Whether your husband didn’t remember what you wanted for Christmas, or if no one remembered that you are a vegetarian (awkward), try on gratefulness this year.
While a relationship will never be perfect, it doesn’t mean it can’t still be good! Here are 5 tips for a healthy, positive love relationship.
5. Love Never Fails
All throughout Almost Christmas were moments of pure and unadulterated love. When things went right, it was because of a family’s quest to put love above all else. In times of great heartache or great joy, love will never fail. Love creates hope. It honors, it encourages, it is selfless, it gives, it is grateful, and it surpasses triumph and tragedy. Whether you’ve recently lost a loved one or if purchasing gifts is a challenge this year, know that a little love can go a long way.
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