If you've ever traveled to another country where your native language isn't spoken, you may have experienced the feeling of insecurity as you struggled to communicate with others. The foundation of communication requires at least two people. One must be the sender, and one the receiver. Although it doesn't solve everything, it's most effective when this conversation takes place between two people who share a common language.
I’ve traveled to Asia a few times in the last 10 years. I'll admit, it was a bit intimidating stepping off a plane and into a new world where I couldn’t read or understand the words that others were using. Yet once I got immersed in the sights, smells, sounds, and culture, I was able to quickly learn a few common words and phrases. It was interesting to realize how the sentence that helped me the most was a simple phrase that we often take for granted: "Thank you."
The same can be true as we prepare to join friends and family for the holiday season. We need a common language. The language I’m thinking about is not the dialect we speak, but the language that flows from our hearts—the language of gratitude. When we enter into conversation genuinely grateful for the other person being in our lives and grateful they're sharing their time to speak with us, we can see them in a different light and hear them in a different tone.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6–7)
As you prepare to gather with others for the holidays during the next few months, I encourage you to enter the conversation with overflowing thankfulness in your heart and see how the communication changes for the better.