The Christmas season is in full swing. For many, it is a time of hot chocolate, cheesy Hallmark movies, and family board games. But for others, it is a time of loneliness and a reminder of loss. In this post, I will share five practical steps you can take to begin to heal a broken Christmas. The night was Christmas Eve 1914. WWI was raging. British and German men spent their days killing each other and their nights fighting off frostbite. But on this particular night, a miracle happened. As the British troops sat in their cold, muddy trenches, they heard a faint sound of a familiar Christmas tune coming across the battlefield through the silence of the nightfall. The words were in a foreign language, but the melody was unmistakable. The enemy troops were singing "Silent Night." The British soldiers spontaneously began joining in. "Silent Night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright." 1. Worship Together For the first time in months, this battlefield felt peace from gunfire and death. The atmosphere of heaven filled the field as two enemies, sworn to kill each other, were unified in worshipping Jesus. Worship is miraculous. We become connected to those who worship with us because, as we adore God together, our hearts begin to open. We realize that we are all on the same team. Is Christmas a difficult holiday for you? My first suggestion to start healing is to fill this Christmas with worship. Do you have Christian family members that you have a “less than Christian” relationship with? Try worshiping together. Watch a church service together and blast the worship music. What if you have unsaved family members? I'd suggest singing Christmas songs together that are worship songs. Like, "Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “O Come Let Us Adore Him." Now is the only time of the year when secular stores play worship songs overhead, and unsaved people sing along! Who knows? Maybe singing it together will open up a conversation with them about Jesus. If you worship together, you will begin to heal together. The presence of God is always healing. Psalm 95:6 "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!" It is hard to stand against each other when we are all kneeling before our Lord. If German and British troops, sworn enemies who’d killed each other that morning, can be united in worship that same evening, I know God can begin to connect your family through worship, as well. 2. Take a Risk to Re-engage With People Who Hurt You At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, a German soldier decided to take a risk that would change history. He stepped out of his trench and walked across the battlefield into “no man's land,” the space between both fronts. The British rallied for combat, assuming the German soldier was leading an attack. But before they began firing, they realized the man carried no weapon but was instead waving his arms. Through the wind, they could hear the sound of broken English calling, "Merry Christmas!" At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick. But, seeing more and more unarmed Germans climbing out of the trench to proclaim Merry Christmas, their guards began to fall. British soldiers began laying down their weapons. Vulnerability opens up more vulnerability. The question is who will be willing to take the risk, to be vulnerable first? The British soldiers stepped out of their protective trenches, crossed no man's land, and shook the hands of their enemies. The holidays, while they bring us joy, often remind people of their pain. We remember loved ones no longer with us. We remember those family members absent from the celebration because of an argument that happened years ago. What if, instead, we focused on Christmas being about Christ? The One who laid down His life, became vulnerable, and approached us while we were still His enemies? Like the first German soldier, what if we put down our weapons, chose to forget the pain from the previous day, and make the dangerous walk towards reconnection? Could we get shot again? Sure. But we could also change the course of our lives. It doesn't matter who was right or who started the war or why we are fighting. Forgiveness can be difficult, but it changes enemies into friends. Christmas is the time to take the risky steps toward healing. Enjoying this Post? Let's Get Connected! 3. Give a Gift of Sacrifice The German and British men began to dig through their supplies and give whatever they could find to their new brothers. Some gave puddings and chocolate they had received from loved ones back home. Some gave stale crackers or even cigarettes, which was the only valuable thing they had. They were in wartime, poorly supplied in the dead of winter. And yet, even when they needed resources the most, they gave them away to their enemies! Think about the sibling who hurt you, the parent who caused you pain, the coworker or boss who makes your life miserable. What if you gave them a sacrificial gift? We do this not because they deserve it, but because blessing your enemy will bring healing to your own heart and help you forgive. Generously giving when in lack opens up the floodgates of blessing from God in your life. Proverbs 11:24-25 "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." 4. Intentionally Laugh Together One soldier somehow fashioned a ball, and the two armies played soccer on no man's land! They laughed, sang carols together, and even created and lit a Christmas tree. If you can laugh together, you can begin to trust each other. Laughter heals the heart and begins to lower walls. It truly is medicine for your soul and your relationships. (See Proverbs 17:22) Many people don't know how to interact with someone who has hurt them. Many parents don't know how to interact with their teenagers, who seem indifferent to all family affairs. Many spouses don't know how to heal their broken marriages. A great thing you can do together is play a game that makes you laugh. Find a game that everyone can play that isn't hard or complicated, and intentionally create time to laugh. I promise you: God will use laughter to heal your family and friendships. 5. Don't Go Back to War Years later, when asked about this historic moment, the German Lieutenant Kurt Zehmisch recalled, "How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time." These new, however unlikely brothers sadly left the field to go back to their trenches that Christmas night. Many did not want the dawn to come, knowing that at daybreak, they would have to shoot the very men they had just celebrated Christmas with. The sun rose, and neither side could fire first. In fact, they were all restationed to different areas of the war because they could not kill each other. Their enemies had transformed from nameless and faceless opponents to friends and brothers united under the banner of Christ. Often after the holiday season is over, people stir up old wounds once again. They are willing to put aside differences for the holidays, but come December 26th, the war is back on. I encourage you to be like these men: Refuse to go back to war. Healing has begun. Continue the same principles not just on Christmas but on each day of the year. What do you guys think? What are some practical steps you think we could all take to help heal a broken Christmas? Let us know in the comments your ideas that could help bring broken friendships and families back together!