One of my greatest fears at Christmastime is having to go house to house, a-wassailing and wishing people well, especially people I can\u2019t stand \u2014 people who probably can\u2019t stand me either. Over the years, my parents, and later my wife, would drag me to places I didn\u2019t want to visit to see family members and \u201cfriends\u201d I never wanted to see. I felt like Jacob Marley, pulling that ball and chain everywhere he went. But they made me go because it was Christmas. Bah humbug. It\u2019s tough to make merry with someone you dislike, and it\u2019s even tougher to pretend you like them when you can barely tolerate them...and politics only makes it harder. Of course, this year might be easier because the Powers That Be will have us in perpetual lockdown. When we go a-wassailing, we\u2019ll probably see signs that say, \u201cNO MERRYMAKING ALLOWED PER ORDER OF THE STATE!\u201d But Big Brother and Big Mother shouldn\u2019t be allowed to stop Christmas because wassailing is a fundamental freedom that is a constitutionally protected right, at least today. But back to my constitutionally guaranteed right to hold grudges. Resentments are as much a part of the holiday as maxed out credit cards, even though they\u2019re not in keeping with the theme of \u201cPeace on Earth, good will toward men, women and all living creatures.\u201d So many of us cling to our resentments. I know people who\u2019ve harbored grudges for an entire lifetime. Brothers and sisters who no longer talk, business partners who curse each other, ex-spouses who revive their hate over the holidays, fathers and sons who are estranged, not to mention mothers and daughters. They just can\u2019t forgive. I\u2019ve also known people who carried resentments to the grave. To the bitter end, they were convinced they were right. You have to ask yourself, \u201cHow important is it to be right?\u201d When I think of grudges, I think of Charles Dickens, who knew that reconciliation and forgiveness are a part of Christmas. Do you remember that scene in \u201cA Christmas Carol\u201d when Scrooge falls to his knees at his grave and pleads with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: \u201cI\u2019m too old. I cannot change! I cannot!\u201d He saw his entire life in excruciating detail, and it terrified him. I\u2019ve often wondered what would happen if we were given the same gift of spiritual illumination, sort of like a near-death experience when you relive every single moment and see the hurt and the pain you caused, not to mention the opportunities to do good that you ignored. It\u2019s easy to be self-righteous until you see how destructive it can be. Reaching out to an estranged family member or friend may seem impossible to do, but it\u2019s important to do because resentments are emotionally corrosive. Forgiveness is part of our spiritual DNA. Anger isn\u2019t. The Victorians believed Christmas is a time to heal old hurts, a time for forgiveness, a time for hearts to change. Unfortunately, this year, the anger and ill will are even more intense because of our favorite national pastime called politics. But family and friends are more important than politics. Our political leaders can mess up the country, but don\u2019t let them mess up your relationships. Besides, politicians will still be here in 2021. Your family and friends might not be. Instead of judging people with different views, take a page out of the 12-Step philosophy to \u201cLive and let live.\u201d Admittedly, real life isn\u2019t as dreamy as a Hallmark Christmas special. Sometimes you can feel like poor Ebenezer during his encounter with that last ghost. \u201cSpirit of the Future, I fear you more than any specter I have met tonight!\u201d he groaned. \u201cBut even in my fear, I must say that I am too old! I cannot change! I cannot!\u201d Nevertheless, he did. You\u2019re never too old to change, and the older you get, the more change is necessary. The good news is that Christmas is a time for miracles. All you have to do is look for them...and be willing to forgive. Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.