Is There Someone You Need to Forgive This Christmas?

Justice and Mercy in "The Man Who Invented Christmas"

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[By Bill Howard]

A dear friend of mine once shared with me a deep pain in his heart when I asked about his father. His parents divorced when he and his siblings were very young, and in the bitterness and anger at the father that followed, only my friend continued to see his father on a regular basis.

In recent years, his father has been seriously ill and living in an assisted care facility. Holiday gatherings consist of the children and their families gathering at the mother’s house with their stepfather, while my friend and his wife make an extra visit to the father to hold a simple celebration and to pray. Many years ago, the father came back to his Catholic faith, which eventually led to this son also embracing Catholicism.

My friend’s siblings have rarely spoken to the father since their youth and seem to carry an anger that serves as a punishment for past misdeeds and wounds caused from the reckless life their father lived as a young man. The pain of his mother and siblings is very real and understandable. We’ve often wondered if his father is hanging on with hope of a reconciliation.