Christmastime is here
Families drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

I make a special effort most nights during the holidays to curl up on the couch with my daughter Julia. She’s 21 now, but when she comes home from college for the holidays, I know she will not turn down a chance to eat popcorn and watch an old Christmas movie with me. Evan, our oldest, is a recent college graduate, living in New York, but we look forward to his visit every Christmas. It’s come to be the only week out of the year that our whole family is together.

Unfortunately, the joy of these times is mixed with a little regret for me. I imagine all the dinners at the table we didn’t have while they were young. Some nights we were lucky to sit together in front of the TV with pizza on a paper plate. Now, here we are, empty nesters, and for some reason my husband Michael doesn’t always share the same enthusiasm for claymation movies as my kids did.

If indeed our family relationships teach us how to relate to others in the world, we need to practice the lessons of charity, acceptance, and kindness on each other, while we are all still under the same roof. This requires making time together a priority. Now that my own children have escaped…umm…I mean left the nest, I hope that despite my lack of homemaking skills, they somehow will have learned to be gracious to everyone they meet—not just the pizza delivery guy.

SING A NEW SONG: Make a point to schedule family time and create experiences and memories that will leave a lasting impression.