Supportive Celebration

   Written by on December 23, 2015 at 11:24 am

Is your family getting together for Christmas?  Are you looking forward to it or dreading it?  It does seem that at family times, hurt feelings are often served along with green bean casserole, cranberries, and turkey.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Have you seen the movie “The Four Christmases”?  In Europe, the title is “Anywhere but Home.”  Based on the plot, anywhere but home seems like a better title.  In this movie, a couple struggles to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas.

Brad and Kate an upscale San Francisco couple come from families, with divorced parents, stressed siblings relationships and out-of-control nieces and nephews.  To avoid family Christmases, Brad and Kate plan out of the country trips with the pretense of doing charity work.  This Christmas, fog grounds Brad and Kate’s flight and to make matters worse the local TV channel features them waiting at the airport.

With the cat out the bag about their cancelled trip, the families call to make sure Brad and Kate visit on Christmas Day.  Bracing themselves for a marathon of Christmas visits, Brad and Kate imagine the worst.  In spite of discussions to prepare for the visits, the day turns from one disaster to another.  At each visit, a family member is all too happy to share a secret about Kate or Brad; a secret previously considered too embarrassing to share.  For example, Brad’s family shares that his name is really Orlando and why.  Kate’s sister brings up Kate’s fear of inflatable castles, fears based on a merciless teasing Kate received as a child.  The stress begins to break down Brad and Kate’s relationship.

Now this is a Hollywood Christmas movie, so yes it has a happy- ending.  However … how many of us have had not so happy-endings because of things said by our loved ones?

This movie is full of examples of family members saying things that obviously hurt Brad or Kate only to have the family members laugh at the hurt feelings.  The family members obviously are not familiar with Proverbs 12:18 warning thatrash words are like sword thrusts.

Growing up, my family used sarcastic humor to “joke around.”  My family didn’t mean to be hurtful.  However, they also didn’t take into consideration the damage and hurt feelings that sarcasm often times causes!

In our counseling practice, it is common for us to see how sarcasm negatively influences a person’s self-esteem and self-image.  Trusted, loving family members’ demeaning comments cultivate feelings of inferiority in the very people they love.  These feelings can grow to be so overwhelming that family members form identity problems as well.

“When the atmosphere is affirming, I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”  Ok, so Mr. Schwab was talking about the work place, but the same principle applies at home.  Proverbs 15:23 supports this theory by stating a person finds joy in giving an apt reply.

As we celebrate Christmas, remember celebrating a person is also a gift.  Positive words, hugs, high fives go a long way in helping our loved ones.  You are showing them acceptance; helping them to feel wanted.  It is amazing how a positive word builds closeness.

Do your loved ones know they are appreciated?  Have you told or shown your loved ones that you are a glad he/she is in your life – without sarcasm?

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, please take a minute to consider ways to celebrate your family members as well.

Consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things.  Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites.  And the tongue is a fire.  James 3:4-6


Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.  

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or


View all Posts

Leave a Reply