The Holiday season has arrived, bringing family gatherings full of warmth, great food and tender memories–or at least that’s how it looks on the Publix commercials. The reality for most adults is a bit more complicated. Most family relationships bear scars or wounds along with the sweet times, and sometimes those sharp, painful memories unexpectedly pierce us. How do we respond?
“One must love God first, and only then can one love one’s closest of kin and neighbors.”
― Thaddeus of Vitovnica
The preparation for staying calm and finding forgiveness begins in our hearts. It’s a slow process, and the victories are sometimes so tiny we don’t even notice them; but day by day, if we focus on our own sins and love each person for the image of Christ that is within them, the transformation will come.
“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.” ― Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Messy families are as old as time, but we are transformed by Christ; even death is conquered, so why let that annoying habit or same old cutting remark cause us to lose sight of the hope we have? Let us be Thankful in this Holiday season and focus on the great gift that God has given us: Himself.
“Joy is thankfulness, and when we are joyful, that is the best expression of thanks we can offer the Lord, Who delivers us from sorrow and sin.”
― Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica