How are you anticipating the upcoming gathering of relatives and friends over the holidays?  For many it is a time of hesitancy or reluctance in seeing family members that hold held widely divergent views from your beliefs.  Some are more than eager to share their thoughts or are even convinced it is their duty to persuade you to change your beliefs.

Or you may have relatives that have distanced themselves for months or years and you remain hurt inside for the loss of that relationship.  Or what about those with drug or alcohol addictions that may show up?  What about that one that has lost a loved one recently.  Their emotions are raw and fragile.  Will you be showing each one love?

Just like a commander of an invading military operation you must make your plan for the various scenarios or attacks that may be coming your way soon.

As that commander, will you determine ahead of time what you will wield with your sword?  Will that be a sword of anger or revenge or attack first?  Or might you wield love and plan and prepare your heart to show up a peacemaker?  Your strategy is to be kind, give wide birth to a wide range of views and hold back on provocative comments or outbursts. Have a heart that wants to understand other points of view.  You don’t have to change yours but you may be able to better understand how individuals arrived at their point of view.  You might leave the gathering a more polished gem of a person.

How do you want the people you are with to feel when the gathering is over?  Maybe you cannot make everyone get along or agree on all points, and in these days, there are so many points of view, but you can leave everyone feeling loved and accepted.  Isn’t that what we all want?  I want to leave the family gathering feeling like we shared, we heard and we listened to each other.  It can happen if we hold our tongues and outbursts at bay.  I hope your plan is to be a peacemaker this holiday season of gathering and not a bomb thrower.

Differences in politics and religion are the top contenders for contention.  But coming home after a period of absence also highlights changes in older loved one’s health and abilities.  Blame on those that live close by for not taking better care or blame for those that live at a distance for not pitching in to help more, physically or financially are also looming areas of contention.

It helps to remember we are all growing older and changes are occurring both physically, mentally and spiritually so plan to allow room for everyone to receive acceptance and love from the family.  If many of us do that, we might even change the world over a family dinner gathering.