Sending singing carols, sending Christmas cards, giving gifts…It’s all tradition and fun, but perhaps this is a wonderful time to really reach out to those among us in most need in a special way. Glitter abounds, as each card that arrives is even more beautiful than the one before, and each has a wonderful message of hope. However, could it be we are really to bring hope into the lives of others through the gift of time this Christmas season?
Beyond the glitter sprinkled Christmas cards lies the goodwill of the senders and a yearning for life-giving memories and togetherness. Surely this season is about hope and faith for many people. Hope that we give and get the gifts we want. Hope that we get to spend Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day with loved ones. Hope that the New Year will bring us blessings of happiness, success and prosperity. And, foremost for Christians, hope in Our Dear Lord Jesus Christ.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NASB
For some, the Christmas holidays are anything but merry. For some who face uphill battles of grief and loss of any and every kind, loneliness, poverty, untreated trauma, disability and/or infirmity, the revelry of the season may be an annoyance, and the merriment diluted or absent. For such people, the Christmas season can be a time of angst and broken heartedness –and a great opportunity for those of us who revel in the season. It may be difficult to know what to say or do to help someone who experiences sadness or a sort of hopelessness during such festive holidays, but a little love and kindness can go a log way in lifting the spirits of someone who is hurting.
I urge you, even if you yourself are having difficulty “getting in the holiday spirit,” look around you this Christmas season with the eyes of faith. In as much as we Christians are called to tend to the poor, the sick, the disabled, the widowed and orphaned, there is always someone around who needs a special friend, even and especially at the holidays. The Good News, is that you can be that friend!
Here are a few life-giving things you can do to try to reach out to those you know who are hurting this Christmas season:
- Expand your Christmas card list to include those you know who are having a hard time this Christmas season. It is a small gesture but will likely be well-received.
- Invite them to coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner just to catch up. They will be glad to hear from you and it may go a long way in helping them feel better.
- Do random acts of kindness for people that you know are having a challenging holiday season. Try offering encouragement or even being a secret Santa to boost another’ spirits.
- When you are baking, put aside a baked gift for a special friend in need. Making moose-munch, brown sugar almonds or pecans or cookies for them will surely brighten their day and yours.
- If possible, invite a special friend to Christmas dinner with your family. That will prevent them from having to be alone on the holiday.
- Invite your special friend to Christmas church services. Even if they decline, just being invited can be a great boost for someone who is hurting during the holidays.
- Most of all, pray for all you know who are alone, grieving or hurting in any way this Christmas. Prayers – Yes, your prayers – are powerful and important to overall well-being. Give the best gift of all as PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!
If you are reading this today, and you yourself are hurting, please know I am praying for you and will continue throughout the Christmas season and into the New Year. Try to reach out to another who may be hurting even more than you are. For to reach out to others always benefits both the one on the giving end and on the receiving end…It’s just God’s way to make such relationships mutually beneficial!
May hope and joy be yours to share this beautiful Christmas season and beyond.
By Chaplain Adele M. Gill