As the old saying goes, “You can choose your friends but not your family.” You discover how true that is during the holidays. Spending time with family members who see the world differently than you do can be stressful.
To fill this season with joy and peace instead of frustration and conflict, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
First, try these three magical words: “Tell me more.” Argumentative people are less likely to escalate if they feel heard. You don’t have to agree with anybody. Just authentically listen to what they have to say before you speak. Affirmation decreases the likelihood of a conversation escalating into an argument that leads nowhere.
The second idea is to manage your expectations. Your family may not be as committed to a peaceful holiday as you are, so don’t give up if things get off to a rocky start. Find a quiet spot to reset your focus, then stick to your plan. Listen well and control the only person you can control: you.
Above all, bring a spirit of gratitude with you to your holiday gathering. You don’t have to allow someone else to overshadow the many blessings you enjoy. You can choose to look past differences and find common ground wherever you can.
The best way to celebrate Christmas is to embody the character of Christ Himself. After all, the spirit of the season isn’t about winning arguments. It’s about sacrificing on behalf of others in faith, love, and humility.