For many of us, the holidays are a time of year to come together with family. It might even be the only time of year we see some of our relatives. Sometimes those moments together are full of joy, but at other times those moments together can be a challenge—particularly at a time when so many of us are divided by our beliefs. Whether you and your family members belong to different churches or different political parties, Cayce would ask that we look for the similarities and not the differences.

Seek ever to find not the differences with others but where ye may agree. 

-- Edgar Cayce reading 3102-2

If we accept the concept of reincarnation, any relationship has, in all likelihood, existed in some other incarnation, making difficulties between us even more challenging as the roots to our problems may run deep and lie within the subconscious. There are many layers to a relationship, sometimes karmic in nature, that are exerting their influence on the here and now.

Individuals do not meet by chance. They ARE necessary in the experiences of others, though they may not always use their opportunities in a spiritual way or manner.

-- Edgar Cayce reading 2751-1

For those who are struggling with difficult family relationships, the holidays can be incredibly painful. Whether it has always been a challenging relationship or just a stressful phase with a beloved family member, there are steps you can take this holiday season to make coming together a more joyful event.

Something you might ask yourself is: How can I find peace within myself and with my loved ones during this time together? How can I look upon my relationships at the soul level and beyond our everyday lives or disagreements? How can I honor in my heart the love I have felt for this person in the past? How can I forgive what I felt was done to me by this person?

And then, find time to get quiet. In this meditative state, ask your higher self, “What is my soul trying to learn? For what purpose might I be going through this difficult relationship?” Then become aware of the answers that will come to you through that “still, small voice” from within. Our souls are communicating with us all of the time. Take quiet time to listen and contemplate what yours might be saying to you.

According to the Cayce philosophy, all experiences, even the most difficult ones, are opportunities to grow on a spiritual level.

For each accident, incident or experience should be, in the mental self, as that necessary to fit the individual entity for greater and better opportunities for service to Creative Forces or God in its experience. 

-- Edgar Cayce reading 1424-1

In practical terms, you may wish to ask family members in advance of the holidays to make a pact not to speak of politics or religion or whatever your family’s hot-button issue is. Encourage them to focus instead on the love you’ve experienced together by asking them to bring pictures or stories to share while you're together.

On a metaphysical level, before the holiday gatherings begin, try this exercise in Forgiveness:

Step 1 - Write down the name of a person who comes to mind who has angered, hurt, disappointed, or irritated you. It could even be your own name. This is okay.

Step 2 - Bring the image of the person to your mind and say to that person, “I forgive you, and I release you. I hold no grudges against you. My forgiveness for you is total. I am free, and you are free.”

And may you and your family have an enjoyable time together, focusing on the similarities and not the differences.