A Christmas Prayer for Fighting Families

Either I’ve been studying storytelling too much, or I’m right and my life proceeds according to theme. There was the Season of Service vs. Self-care, then the Period of Productivity vs. Peace, followed by the Time of Trial and Trust. Now, I feel as though the universe had thrown me an uncharacteristically gentle bone: a Retreat for my Relationships.

In the parallel universe where our interior lives are being played out in cozy metaphors, I picture myself in a vacation cabin in the Smokies, sharing a leather armchair with the people I love most. I sigh and smile at them all, holding a hot cup of Mighty Leaf’s “Organic African Nectar” tea (obsessed).

How is this possible? I say to myself. Somehow, by a fantastic rip in the anxiety-panic continuum, I have found the mental space to focus on the people around me, and to take a serious look at how I treat them!

It might have been St. Teresa of Calcutta who ignited the turning of this new season. I was researching her for a lecture when I came across the following quotation:


“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”

A common giveaway of having heard the voice of truth is the immediate desire to excuse oneself from its implications. As an exercise against this tantalizing temptation, I’ve written the below prayer for families at Christmas time. Now, I don’t expect any upcoming family gatherings to resemble churning battles. However, over the past months, I have discovered myself to be brimming with judgments, criticisms, grudges, and unreasonable expectations when it comes to my family. It is primarily in my imagination that I fight with these poor, unsuspecting people, and so it is with my imagination that I hope to restore order. 

After all, what is prayer but the reorientation of the imagination to God?

[cranks gears on side of Imagination Telescope and swivels from Stella Ego to Stella Dei]

A Christmas Prayer for Fighting Families

“Fear and fury fracture families.” - Something heard in my own head, once.


This Christmas, whatever bones you have to pick with the kind people who feed you hams and give you presents, consider a new year’s resolution to nurture those relationships in 2017. 

NBD, but Mother Teresa says it will bring about world peace.