There is a great scene in the movie Home Alone in which a little boy inadvertently abandoned by his family during the holidays has some advice for the grandfatherly neighbor down the street.
Eight year old Kevin McCallister tells the octogenarian to set aside his differences with his estranged son and reconcile after years of angry silence between them.
Wise beyond his years, Kevin explains that life is too short to allow anything to keep him away from his son and the granddaughter he adores from the other side of a wall erected by stubbornness and pride. A wall covered by dark and lonely decaying vines.
Granpappy heeds the suggestion and Christmas is ushered in by a tearful, joyful reunion.
That's why I'm asking you to take inventory of your suspended relationships.
Are you still standing on questionable principle?
Here's what I'm talking about. Are you so disgusted by your daughter's husband that you shun them?
Did your brother-in-law once commit an unforgivable transgression?
I basically want to know if there are family members you've dealt out of the hand in the family card game.
Whatever the problem, I want you to know this. It's not worth it.
This Holiday season, put the welcome mat out for all family, good and bad, in-laws included.
Grudges, especially the family variety, are like a cancer in your heart. It grows inside of you, robbing you of the joy God meant you to experience.
Forgive all unconditionally and never bring up the offense again. Even if you never hear an apology or an admission of guilt.
Your forgiveness will be the greatest gift you've ever given to yourself. Bury that hurt and resentment in the fertile garden of forgotten offenses.
In that garden grows the most beautiful bouquet of memories yet to be experienced,blossoms of laughter spectacular in color, and exquisite loving moments of poignancy.
You unite yourself this way with the greatest forgiver of all God.
Uncle Frank got wasted at your wedding and you've never forgiven him.
This Christmas, don the gleeful jacket of goodwill that Scrooge wore on Christmas morning. Uncle Frank is a child of God like you.
Imperfect and undeserving like you.
How many times do you forgive? Seven times seventy, at least. Sound familiar?
Anyway, it's only October so you have time to plan. Might shock a few folks but rev-up yourself for a few repaired relationships.
Scrooge had three ghosts to motivate him.
You've got this column, so get going.
The heavy boulders of a grudge make it difficult to ride a puffy cloud up to heaven.
There's still time, Ebeneezer.