During these most festive times, there will be mixed feelings amongst many friends and family members that you may meet or see over Christmas dinner or while out shopping. I encourage you to not get raveled in the gift of giving or getting and finding the perfect sale but remain open to the idea of letting in those that have been out of your circle over the past years.

This season brings up gentle yet harsh reminders of the past and things that have not gone well. There is the broken relationships, the abandonment from loved ones, the conflict in friendships, the argument over hardships and more. Despite the many packages wrapped and turkeys stuffed, reality still exists.

Let us not ponder on why someone’s behavior does not match our own. Let us not embrace the negativity during such a joyous time. Let us give the gift of forgiveness.

I know that it sounds easier said than done, but imagine the burdens lifted and the blessings received at no monetary cost.

The bible states in Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Those words alone can release all of your past hurt and pain but requires your acceptance and belief in the power of forgiveness. I share this because it remains heavy on my heart when I speak with individuals and their children who would like to connect with family members and old friends, but don’t know how.

Step one, don’t wait on the other person to make the first move.

Step two, don’t get discouraged if your acceptance is not received.

Step 3, don’t focus on judgment, but on the act of forgiveness.

Step 4, leave room at the dinner table for those that are ready to become a part of the solution.

Step 5, don’t be concerned about what hasn’t worked, but focus on God’s words of what can work.

Here is your opportunity for the greatest gift of all—forgiveness!