Yes, it’s that time of year again. Many songs call it the “most wonderful time of the year” and “the happiest season of all”, and for many that is absolutely true. Yet, for plenty of other people, the holidays can be the most miserable time of the year, and the most depressing season of all. While some want it to go on forever, some just want it never to begin.
What is it about the Christmas season that evokes such strong emotion for people, for better or worse?
This question has caused much introspection for me. I have worked with clients who have fallen on both sides of the holiday emotional scale. Certainly in my own life, there have been Christmases where I have been filled with so much joy, I thought I might burst; and then there have been those years where all I wanted for Christmas was a case of Kleenex just to get me through the season.
One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to look at lights, and I often take walks in the evening so I can enjoy the twinkling glow on neighboring houses against the stillness of night. There is something very peaceful for me about this practice, and I use it as a time to pray, and gather my thoughts. I was out on one of these evening walks when this thought hit me:
Christmas is a reminder.
A reminder of connection or loneliness. Of gain or loss. Of peace or discord. Of forgiveness or bitterness. The status of our relationships; these are the things that people are reminded of when the spotlight of the holidays shines on their lives. Which parties will you be invited to…OR…not be on the guest list for? Who will you buy a gift for and from whom will you receive one – or not? What family members will you be surrounded by this Christmas, or which ones will you desperately miss being with? Will you be remembered or forgotten?
Christmas is God’s reminder that He loves us and He has not forgotten us.
Many people feel lonely and forgotten during the holidays. So, when the focus is moved from the parties and the presents, to the true reason for the season, it can heal some of the hurt that you may experience during the hyped-up holiday. Christmas is about a relationship with the one whose love will never fail us. In a modest little town named Bethlehem, over two thousand years ago, God gave the greatest gift to mankind that any of us will ever receive, when He sent us a Savior, through the birth of his son, Jesus. CHRISTmas…the gift is in the name. God sent his son as a reminder that He loves us. Where there is love, there is hope.
Hope whispers, God has not forgotten you.
If you are having one of those Christmases where you are feeling lonely, open your heart and accept the gift of love that God has for you through a relationship with Jesus. And then reach out to share this gift of love with someone else who might be lonely. Some of the most fulfilling Christmas seasons I have had are ones where although I have been in deep emotional pain, I refused to give in to the temptation to isolate myself and instead, reached out to share CHRISTmas love with others. One year, I went to my local mission and served Christmas dinner to the residents there. Another year, on Christmas Eve, I took a group of youth to the hospital to sing carols to the patients. Yet another Christmas, I assisted a local outreach program in delivering gifts to community children in need. That Christmas, my heart was full, despite my loss. Even in the midst of great personal pain, it is possible to stay focused on what Christmas is really all about – Love.
There are so many ways you can share CHRISTmas love with others. Be creative. Open your eyes. Look around you. There are plenty of lonely people. Remind them they are not forgotten either. Reach out to God. Reach out to others. It’s when we give, that we truly receive. And that’s a gift you’ll never regret giving.
Merry Christmas! And to you, I give the gift of this link to my favorite Christmas song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE