“Look! How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”—PSALM 133:1.
A reason why some celebrate Christmas.
Since the Israelites were all descendants of one man, Jacob, or Israel, they were “brothers,” members of one family. When they assembled for festivals in Jerusalem, it was “good” and “pleasant.” Like them, many families today look forward to getting together and enjoying a “good” and “pleasant” time at Christmas.
Why is it a challenge?
The Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations acknowledges: “Family tensions that simmer below the surface during the rest of the year very often boil over when the family gathers together for the holidays.”
What Bible principles can help?
“Keep paying a due compensation to [your] parents and grandparents.” (1 Timothy 5:4) To the extent possible, arrange regular visits with your family. If your relatives live far away, you can still communicate often. Why not write a letter, call them on the telephone, send an e-mail, or chat online? Regular communication keeps misunderstandings to a minimum.
“You are cramped for room in your own tender affections. . . . Widen out.” (2 Corinthians 6:12, 13) Relatives seen only once a year can quickly become strangers—especially for children. Some children feel that they have little in common with their grandparents or distant relatives. Therefore, encourage your children to “widen out” in their affections by including elderly relatives.* Children who regularly spend time with elderly people tend to develop more empathy and appreciation for people who are older than they are.
“Saying the right word at the right time is so pleasing.” (Proverbs 15:23, New Century Version) How can you prevent misunderstandings or issues from straining family relationships? One way is to select “the right time” to discuss legitimate concerns. If your relationship is lubricated by regular communication, you will find it easier to approach family members privately to resolve any problems and enjoy “good” and “pleasant” times when you come together.