Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (NIV).
Some people are naturally more introverted than others. They prefer a small quiet gathering over a loud party. Others enjoy the chaos of lots of activity around them, though they rarely join in and instead just sit back and observe. Another person is the life of the party, able to make friends just as easily with a stranger at the store, friend-to-friend in a coffee shop, or with twenty people at a party, simultaneously. No matter what your preference, I think we can all agree that people need people, family needs family, and friends need friends.
With the holiday season in full swing and family celebrations right around the corner, I challenge all of us to spend more time connecting with those around us in meaningful ways than worrying about how perfect everything is, or whether it’s exactly in the way you prefer.
I know for our own family, it’s bittersweet this year. We are going through transition years, probably every few years now as teenagers grow up, move away, and may not be able to afford to come back and visit for the holidays. I don’t want to miss out on time I could’ve spent making memories. I don’t want to take for granted that life will stay the same and my loved ones will always be here. I want to choose cherishing the here and now instead of assuming it will always be available whenever I’m ready.
Maybe our focus needs to shift from “getting through the holidays” to what kind of memories do I want to make for myself and my family and friends? When people lose spouses, children, or other family members prematurely, they don’t sit around and reminisce about how difficult life was with those they miss. No, they talk about wishing they could have one more day for the little things. Sharing stories around the fireplace, the yearly Dicecapades competition, Grammie’s sticky buns, or caroling around the neighborhood when Aunt Sarah sang too loud or Uncle Rob was off key.
I’m not suggesting that if you have a volatile or unhealthy relative to put yourself in a dangerous situation to “keep the peace,” but if you come from the average family of dysfunction (admit it, we are all dysfunctional to a degree) why not try calling a truce this year and just enjoy the fact that you are all alive, healthy, and together? Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try giving thanks for one more year of memories. Sometimes the most dysfunctional memories become the favorites.