You hear it every year. Christmas is a hard time for so many people. It's true. Think about it. How many people are facing the unthinkable tonight?
A cancer diagnosis.
The husband who says he has been seeing someone else and wants a divorce.
The child who is dying.
The mother who is trapped inside her mind & body after a major stroke.
A prenatal diagnosis that says the baby's condition will mean lifelong care and ongoing therapies, treatments, surgeries and medicine, assuming they survive at all.
Realizing you're addicted and that it's time to get help.
The devastation of a lost job and facing the holidays (and beyond) with no income.
The first anniversary of burying a newborn.
The child who took her own life because life was just too overwhelming.
The teenager who has stumbled down the wrong path & is using drugs.
The wife who is facing life without her soldier husband after the funeral.
The girl who was raped & is too scared to tell anyone. And now she's pregnant.
And yet, all the while the rest of the world is moving around these people, singing & laughing. Somehow when you're faced with things like this, you just can't get into the spirit and smile much. And people just don't 'get it'.
I heard the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" a few days ago and I have this vivid mental image that has plagued me ever since. It was sort of like a music video that played in my head to that song. All I could think of was a man, bundled up in a thick coat & gloves, trudging down a busy sidewalk with people shoving & hurrying on either side of him, wondering why he's walking so slowly. He's doing all he can to just put one foot in front of the other. The grief and loss he's feeling are overwhelming but the rest of the world seems to still be moving, bustling in & out of stores even though his world seems to be standing still. It's everything he can do to contain the emotions welled up inside himself. Why can't all these people see how hard life is for him right now? Why can't they just slow down and pat him on the back or hold his hand for a minute & give him that little squeeze that says "It'll be ok"? How can they all keep moving along when his world is falling apart? For him, it is most definitely NOT 'the most wonderful time of the year'. In fact, if he hears one more Christmas carol, he may punch someone.
I wonder how many people like this we work with every day. I wonder how many of them share a pew with us at church or drive next to us in the school driveway every morning. I wonder how many of them would never dare to talk about the horrors of their private life so they're bearing these burdens alone.
Please, open your eyes. Look around you. People are hurting. Take the time to show them the love of Jesus this Christmas. A little kindness & compassion go a long way. Pay for their meal, open the door for them, hand them a gift card to get groceries, leave a special treat on their doorstep, stop and pray with them, offer to watch their kids so they can get a little time alone to process what's going on. Wrap their Christmas gifts for them. Wash their car, mow their yard, fold their laundry. Give them a hug. Pat them on the back & make eye contact when you tell them how much they mean to you.
After all, Christmas is a very hard time for a lot of people.
4 years ago