Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When Christmas Isn't the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Christmas lights. Christmas music. Christmas cookies. Christmas presents. These are all things that usually put us in a joyful and festive mood. Christmas can be a magical season of family reunions and time with friends.

But, for many, Christmas is not magical. It can be the most difficult time of the year. Someone that has recently experienced loss will be filled with grief at the memories of seasons past. A lonely soul might wonder why he or she is not worthy of love. A parent going through a recent divorce might have to endure their first holiday without their children. A family who has just lost a job might not know how to explain to their children that there won't be any presents this year. The "most wonderful time of the year" becomes a time of sadness, regret, and dread.

If you know someone who won't be able to enjoy the season because of a situation they're facing, be the face of encouragement for them. Think of them when nobody else does. Call to say hi, send them a note that you're thinking of them, pray for them when you can. If a family is in need, drop off some groceries, or even a few small wrapped presents for the kids. A Christmas filled with pain can feel isolating, but a small gesture can make all the difference.

I feel a little sad when I'm at the store around Christmas time, and people are so irritated and caught up in the inconveniences of the moment--finding the "right" gift for their loved ones, picking out the "perfect" menu for company. This year, when you feel the hustle and bustle of the season, stop for a second. Be grateful that you have someone to buy a present for. Be grateful that you have food. Give thanks, and pray for those who are in a difficult season of life. Be the encouragement they need to bring a little joy into their Christmas, and it may just make your own Christmas even more meaningful.

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