Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas Dinner

Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas Dinner
British and German descendants of Great War veterans. Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver - Flickr

When I texted my niece Jordin, an attorney who works as a public defender, she told me she was at a softball game. Every month, she explained, the town lawyers get together with the inmates at the local prison, along with the guards, and play softball. I was jarred to hear this, as I usually think of lawyers, guards, and inmates as being in adversarial positions. They are too busy fighting and being angry with each other to enjoy each other.

But not so in Jordin’s town. For a few hours each month, all of these people rise above their social identities and come together as equals on the same playing field. What a model for how good it can get if we let it!

Jordin’s softball game reminded me of a story I heard about the French and German armies fighting each other in World War I. One Christmas both sides agreed to a cease fire, and soldiers from both armies came into a small border town to a tavern where they ate dinner together, drank wine, sang, and enjoyed each other’s company. The next day they went back to shooting each other.

Yet for a moment in time those soldiers dropped their animosity and joined company. I hold this vision dear as a teaching in what we can all do if we are willing. If we can meet each other in the heart for a day, can we not do it for two days? Or a week? Or a month? Or a lifetime?

There Must Be A Better Way

The popular and healing spiritual training A Course in Miracles began when two people who were odds with each other chose to join instead. Dr. Helen Schucman and Dr. Bill Thetford were research psychologists and professors at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. As is often the case in academia, the two were immersed in egoistic power struggles, competition, and backbiting.

One day Dr. Thetford came to Dr. Schucman, and told her, “Helen, there must be a better way.” Helen agreed, which changed the entire dynamic of their relationship. Soon afterward Helen began to hear a voice that gave the world A Course in Miracles through her. Course scholars cite the moment the two agreed to work together rather than against each other, as the seminal moment that opened the door for entire Course to come to the world. Behold the power of sincere willingness to join.

Finding Another Way To Look At Things

One Mother’s Day I saw my friend Danielle walking into a restaurant for brunch. “My husband and ex-husband are taking me out for Mother’s Day,” she told me. Odd, I thought, that these two men would join to support their current and former partner. “We all cooperate around taking care of the kids, so we thought we would celebrate,” she went on. What a wonderful demonstration of how we can choose to stay connected in relationships rather than use changes as an excuse to separate from each other. Even though we may choose to separate physically, we can still join in spirit.

One of the key lessons in my Life Coach Training Program is the technique of reframing, taking a situation that seems daunting and finding another way to look at it that is empowering. One of the trainees reported a reframe she had achieved: “Last weekend my ex-husband, who now had a girlfriend, came to my house to drop off our daughter after she had spent a few days with her dad. As the girl was exiting the car, the girlfriend gave her a hug and kiss and said, ‘I love you.’ When I heard that, my heart sank. I felt like this woman was attempting to replace me as my daughter’s mother.

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“When I thought about it more, I realized that it was a wonderful thing that my daughter had another loving parental influence. How nice that his woman chose to reach out and support my daughter. I realized that we are not in competition with each other, but we are all devoted to the welfare of my daughter. Seeing the situation that way made me feel a lot better. I now appreciate my husband’s new partner.”

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©2018 by Alan Cohen. All Rights Reserved.

Book by this Author

A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love
by Alan Cohen.

A Course in Miracles Made EasyA Course in Miracles Made Easy is the Rosetta stone that will render the Course in Miracles understandable and relatable; and, most importantly, generate practical, healing results in the lives of students. This unique reader-friendly guide will serve longtime students of the Course, as well as those seeking to acquaint themselves with the program.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book

About The Author

Alan CohenAlan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books including A Course in Miracles Made Easy and of the newly-released Spirit Means Business. Join Alan for his life-changing Holistic Life Coach Training beginning September 1, 2020. For information on this program and Alan’s books, videos, audios, online courses, retreats, and other inspirational events and materials, visit

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