A trace scent of chimney smoke as you breathe deeply the crisp, cold air. Your eyes struggle to pierce the blanket of grey that hides the heavens. Bundled up, you hurry from place to place in preparation for the quickly-approaching merriment, as the Sirius Holiday Classics channel broadcasts Andy Williams crooning: "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

We look at people, but don't really see them

Enveloped in holiday cheer, it's easy to lose sight of real relationship. I mean, after all, this is when families come together and exchange gifts, feast and revel, right? Just how real are we, really? If your brood is anything like mine, you tell stories, laugh, play games - but rarely embark on the subject of real life. We do this, not just at family get-togethers, but at church, in the workplace and at parties. We look at people, but don't really see them. We hear what they're saying, but don't really listen. We shoot-the-breeze, but don't speak into their lives.

This year, set the temperature

Well, here's your opportunity: This year, set the temperature. We are called to be thermostats not thermometers. You can go a little bit deeper, digging past the trivial to the twenty-four carat. There's gold in them thar hills! When we mine the hearts of our loved ones, we discover their convictions. It proves we care for them and want to champion their best. There's a real chance for real relationship this Christmas season - and every season after.

Let's make this year monumental! Risk it all. Give yourself away. Get real.