What was the best Christmas gift you have ever gotten? Was it something that was unexpected? Was it something someone made by hand? Those tend to be the best gifts when someone thinks about something you really need or want or simply take the time to make something unique. Now, what was the worst gift you have gotten?

You might need to think hard about it, because we tend to forget the worst and remember only the good ones. But I am sure you got some terrible gift along the way. Maybe it didn’t fit and you couldn’t return it or it was simply the ugliest thing you have ever seen! Indeed, the Christmas season is about spending time with family and friends. But sometimes a funny thing happens when we get together with those folks. We somehow desire to return to the days when things were better and maybe happier. The “return to home” is at the heart of Christmas. Home that is a place where we all get along and love one another. Unfortunately, many families and friends get together and inflict pain on one another. The pain may come from words that wound or being together just brings up bad memories of days gone by that were hurtful The holidays become a time of simply surviving.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God doesn’t want you to live that way? God wants us to enjoy our family and friends. If you suffer from having to deal with painful memories or “psycho” relatives, God wants you to be able to not simply endure, but overcome.

I want to suggest three ways the Bible suggest to help us. The first is to pray for those who have wounded us to be forgiven. Jesus forgave even those who hung Him on a cross, thus we are to forgive others as well. The second is to pray for them to be healed. Jesus healed people even when they didn’t believe in Him. The final is to pray for them to be blessed. This last one is the hardest of all.

There is a true story of a man whose sister was sexually abused by a male adult family member. Many years passed and the man grew from boyhood to manhood. He had not acted upon the abuse and was still upset with the uncle. When the uncle came down with a terminal disease, the man was glad. He found his heart was still full of anger and rage even though his sister had been healed through counseling and her faith in Christ. He too needed to make things right. He sat down and wrote a letter to the uncle and took it to him. The uncle was now blind and could not read and the nurse read it to him. After reading the letter, the nurse knelt down by the bed and prayed to accept Jesus in her heart. She wanted a God who could have made such hatred forgive. The uncle too cried and prayed for Christ. Today, the man says he is healed too and his prayer for his uncle to be blessed came to fruition. Not only that, but the nurse came to Christ through his act of forgiveness.

This Christmas give a real gift of forgiveness. It will be both healing and a blessing to you and maybe to those for whom you forgive. Until next time, blessings.