One of my favorite things about this time of the year is the coming together of family. No matter how young or old, the beauty is in being together. Every family is unique, each with its own rhythm and different dynamics, but sometimes we can tend to focus on our differences more than what unifies us.
As you begin the new year, I encourage you to consider how the current generations in your family can unite and learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives. Moving past surface differences begins with learning to listen. When we listen, we often fixate on surface differences, things we dislike, how it was said, or what we would differently, but we need to hear the heart of what a person is trying to convey.
That can seem like a big task, but one of the simplest ways to learn to hear someone’s heart is simply to know them better. Prioritize intentional time to gather. No matter the age or the personality difference, you will learn to find commonality when you gather. Cultivating an environment of togetherness, ensures that each member embraces their unique role and offers permission to add their special addition to the story. Although each member is different, celebrating that diversity strengthens families and fosters environments of honor and grace.
While the idea of gathering together may be associated with the warm, happy feelings, it is just as an essential practice for the tough times. When you carry your family through the joys and the sorrows, you will see fully how God is shaping their hearts and stories. By coming together as one, we can expect God to dwell among us.
Unity as a family does not have to be a far-fetched ideal. You can make it possible through the simple practices of listening and gathering together. Sharing life together shares values. How will you take next steps to strengthen family ties?
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
1 Corinthians 3:12-14