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By:  Nate Rellinger

Well, here we are. It’s mid-November. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many of us are already looking forward (prematurely) to Christmas. Over the next month or two, most of us are going to get to spend a lot of time with our families. It’s a chance to catch up with each other, telling stories and cracking jokes. Whether we’re with our biological family or our family of close friends, it is a great way to reflect on the many blessings God has given to us and get excited about His plans for next year…

…Or at least it should be. This time of year is also often a time when families can fall apart at the seams, and this can happen for a variety of reasons. In my own life, I have noticed that large family gatherings around the holidays have become less and prevalent over the last few years for multiple reasons. First is probably the realization that everyone is growing up. All of your cousins, like you, are either moving away to go to college or to start their careers. With all of you so spread out, it’s a lot harder for everyone to get together at the same time. And as everyone spreads out, it gets harder and harder for Grandma and Grandpa to get out and see everyone like they used to. It’s not anybody’s fault, but it happens.

As we all grow up, we finally have the opportunity to get out on our own and think for ourselves once and for all. We get to explore and do a lot of things we couldn’t do before because our parents wouldn’t let us. This is why many people separate themselves from their families in college. Doing so puts a real strain on those who care about you most. Everyone usually thinks they’re always right, and some will make sure you know just how right they are and how wrong you are. It really stinks when little fights like these cause families to hold grudges against each other.

And chances are, most of you know what I’m talking about. Many families hold grudges because of one little magic word: politics. After the recent election, I imagine politics will be a HOT topic at many family gatherings this year. Whether or not everyone is in agreement, it’s a subject that is very difficult to ignore, the elephant in the room (literally). If you do disagree, seeing family can put people in a very bad mood. Would you want to go to the family Christmas if you knew you were going to end up arguing about immigration and economic policies?

The point of all this is that as we grow and get more freedoms, we have more and more control over which relationships we want to grow, maintain, or let go of. This of course means our friends, but it can also mean immediate and extended family. This is the part where I tell you to stay as close to your family as you can. As everyone knows, “We choose our friends, but not our family.” And for those of you who may not realize it, Families are the foundation of society. We live in a society that is broken because many families are broken and divided, many because of…politics.

After the election, people on both sides have asked for Americans to work together to make our society better. Some have even asked us to pray for our country. And they’re right. So why not start by coming together at the most basic level of society.

I would encourage you to definitely make an effort to grow closer or stay close with your blood relatives, and at the same time make it a priority to surround yourself with a family of friends both old and new. As far as building a family of friends, RooCatholic is a great place to do just that. We focus on bringing everyone closer to the Lord, and to each other as well. When you actively choose to attend our events and activities, you are making significant steps to surround yourself with people who care about each other and want to help each other grow. RooCatholic is two things which are really the same thing: we are both “a place to belong”, and we are a family too.

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