This is one of my (Dawn’s) favorite LOL’s in our book, LOL with God … and I remembered it while my husband and I were out to dinner … both using our cell phone calendars to plan our Christmas holiday events.
At a restaurant, a waitress told my brother- and sister-in-law, Tom and Janice, that two days earlier, she was waiting on a table of 10 people. After a short time, the manager asked her why she hadn’t taken their order yet.
“They all have their hands close to their chests, and their heads are bowed,” she said. “They’re praying, and I don’t want to disturb them.”
“No,” the manager said. “Look closer.”
To her surprise, the waitress realized the people weren’t praying; they were all on their cell phones, texting people! (1)
I had to laugh when I saw this Christmas card on a friend’s Facebook page!
That’s almost too true to be funny, isn’t it?
We can be right next to each other during the holidays, and completely miss spending time with each other. We can get so caught up in the activities of the season or in preparations for big events that we don’t take time for significant, daily communication with those we love ~ and by that, I mean chatting about more than, “What should we buy Uncle Jake?”
Good communication skills are often overlooked at Christmas when family members feel pressured and busy.
Remember these communication tips:
- Listen carefully to what a person is actually saying, not what you think he or she is saying.
- Make eye contact. Interaction is more personal and successful when you look into a person’s eyes.
- Think a moment before you answer. You’ll never regret something foolish that you didn’t say (Proverbs 18:13). It helps to think so you can give a wise answer (Ecclesiastes 5:2a; Proverbs 15:2, 28).
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Listen to understand, not to judge (Proverbs 17:27). Especially during the holidays with its added stresses, be forgiving, not quarrelsome (Proverbs 13:10; 17:14; 2 Timothy 2:23a)
- Respect the person, even if you don’t agree with his or her opinion or perspective.
- Build trust by being open and honest (Proverbs 24:26; Ephesians 4:25-27). Admit when you don’t know an answer, but offer to help the person find an answer or solution.
- Speak with kindness, gentleness, and love (Proverbs 15:1; 16:24; Philippians 4:5; Ephesians 4:15a).
- Voice your appreciation … often (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Along with practicing good communication, plan some quality time together. Sharing experiences is a gift that keeps giving. It creates warm memories and closer bonds.
Here are some fun Christmas ideas ~ Share some time together:
- Plan some movie nights with classic Christmas tales, cut apples, cheese, and popcorn. Be sure to include a film about the birth of Christ. Talk about each film afterward.
- Take a family walk around your neighborhood to look at decorations. Sing carols, if you want, or stop and pray together in front each of your neighbor’s homes. Or hop in the car and look at Christmas lights. Take a thermos of hot chocolate and some snacks. Talk… don’t just look.
- Bake Christmas cookies or special treats together, and think of people you’d like to share them outside of your friends and family. Maybe a shut-in neighbor or children’s classmates. See if a local prison ministry could hand them out for you.
- Attend your church Christmas program, and then go out for a special treat. Talk about your favorite parts of the program. Talk about how Jesus was God the Father’s special gift to us.
- Shop together for the ingredients for a food basket for someone who is out of work, and include either a store gift card or fast food coupon. (You may want to all sign your names, or make it a secret love gift.)
- Create a yearly Christmas scrapbook. Encourage family members to take photos or add mementos and home-made cards to make times together come alive for years to come.
The important thing is, enjoy each other as you enjoy all that this season offers. Don’t miss the people for the events.
(1) LOL with God, p. 31