Family at Christmas: Deepening Connections
There is something unique about family. Sometimes we can be made to think that families should always agree on everything or that families must naturally just ‘click’. That can often feel like a pipe-dream however, especially when we find ourselves at odds with the people that should love us the most. It isn’t always easy. Family can test us; they can try our will; they challenge our ideas and push us to be our best. On the other hand, that challenge can often make us feel unloved, that trying of our will can often feel unfair, and that pushing us to be our best can often create discomfort.
At Christmas, the difference between imagined ideal families and reality can overwhelm us. Images of happy families inundate us. We see constant reminders of them everywhere. Who hasn’t taken some time to tune into watch a Hallmark Christmas movie every now and then? They remind us of the miracles of love and family, of the beauty of forgiveness, charity, and love. By taking a completely anecdotal poll of friends, films like It’s A Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and Home Alone rank amongst the most re-watched films every year. What all these classics have in common is they remind us in their own unique way about the importance of love in the Season of Hope.
But with all of these reminders of what the perfect happy family is, you might find this Christmas to be a bit difficult. After all, it’s impossible to live up to fantastical expectations born of Christmas memories gone by and ideas of the perfect Christmas. One thing you might try doing this Advent, besides gathering the family together and watching some of the above classic Christmas favorites, is to have an Advent reflection together with family or close friends. Share stories of Christmases past. We recently did this and everyone’s face lit up when the topic came up. Often, taking the time to share our past can help to heal old wounds and enable us to bond over what we as a family have in common. Christmas is a time to celebrate, a time to set aside feelings of hurt, and a time to to love. In the bible, the storge variant of love Christ calls us to teaches us about the natural affection that exists between family members. Often, this love can be strained and tested, as we discussed above, but it is innate within us. Sharing stories about Christmas can help bring us closer to our loved ones, especially during a time where we might be feeling disconnected or strained.
This Christmas, take some time to get to know your family better. This is a great time to share old memories, make new memories, and grow closer to one another in the process. This is a great time to put aside old grudges and to deepen our familial relationships. Make popcorn garland, bake cookies, watch Christmas movies, have a hot cocoa contest, embrace the season of love, and do it with your family! You might find that embracing your family this Christmas can have a lasting impact.
If you’re looking for further guidance on how to work towards strengthening your family relationships, give our office a call today! One of our specially trained clinicians will be more than happy to help.