I love Christmas. The tingle and bite of winter air, the rosiness that rises to your cheeks when you’re outside thrills me. I love the music, the twinkle lights, the house lights. I love that people who often don’t think of Christ have their minds bent on goodwill and giving. And yet, for some–for many more than we probably realize–Christmas is a hard season. It is a bittersweet time, full of memories of those we have lost, either to eternity or conflict or distance. The other side of Christmas can be lonely, painful, or even depressing.
And while I don’t think that should lessen our joy, I do think that we can and should be aware of those struggling and sensitive to their burden. What can we do?
Pray for them.
Pray specifically for them–for comfort, for peace, but also for courage. And let them know that you are praying for them. It is a powerful and wonderful tool that we can intercede for each other on our knees before the awesome Maker of all things.
Spend time with them.
Many gifts are overrated and underused. They are cast aside in an ever-growing pile of “stuff” which sucks us into a world enamored with materialism. But the gift of your time is not only something that can help a lonely person, it is something precious and remembered. It says, “I love you enough to give up other things to just be with you.” It may even be good for you to have some perspective shed on what the “other side” is like.
One of the most valued and least developed skills is listening. Listening–and listening well (with interest, love, and warmth)–can be an enormous gift, especially to someone with struggles. Being able to talk about a loved one who died or the particular challenges of a serious illness can help heal an aching heart. And it is something that you can do no matter what your Christmas gift budget is.
So, today, go out there and bless someone who wasn’t expecting it. In return, you will be blessed beyond measure.