Many of us will be sitting around a dinner table over the next several weeks as we celebrate the Holidays – be it with family, coworkers, or a neighborhood cookie exchange.  The table represents a place of gathering, a time of connection, a place of replenishment – both in food and conversation.

Sometimes there are uninvited guests at the table.  Although the chairs are filled with actual people, other members around the table may be resentment, rifts, and rebellion. We don’t like to acknowledge these guests yet their presence can be felt.  Have you ever had any of these uninvited guests at your table? 

So often during the Holiday season we get caught up in giving tangible gifts to celebrate the season…and those are nice and fun to receive. What if instead we focused more on heart gifts…the intangibles that can’t necessarily be seen, rather felt in the heart?

“The best and most meaningful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.”          

-Helen Keller

 If you were to give a heart gift this season, especially to someone who is challenging to you, what would it be?

Compassion instead of a comeback?

A Smile instead of sarcasm?

Affirming words instead of attacking words?

Extending grace and warmth to someone at your Holiday Table that is difficult to get along with goes against our natural inclination.  It is our human nature to retaliate or get even when we feel hurt, betrayed, or belittled.  There is another way.

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. 

He does not need punishment; he needs help.  

That’s the message he is sending.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Make the Conscious Choice to give a heart gift this Holiday season and notice how long your uninvited guests stay