15 Dec 2015

“Tis the Season To Be . . .”

For those of you who know me or have been following my blogs for at least a year or so, you know that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season is my favorite!  If I could I would eliminate Halloween and zip right into my favorite time of year, I would be one happy camper!  Now I know there are children around the world that would take issue with me for that!  However as special as this time of year is for me, I recognize that for many it is their most dreaded time.  This could stem from a myriad of reasons, i.e. the absence of someone to enjoy it with, the loss of loved ones, the lack of finances, the pressure to host the perfect party, ungrateful spouses and children who never seem to be satisfied with anything you do, struggling with life in general and being bombarded with one dilemma after another.   

I believe it is so important for those of us who are not struggling in any of those areas to be especially sensitive to those who are.  It is easy to be judgmental and insensitive when you have not experienced circumstances to the degree of someone else.  But it is during times like these when we should strive to be empathetic. Many people are not looking for sympathy, but they would appreciate understanding and genuine concern.  I can attest to the fact that there is hope of still being able to enjoy this season after the loss of a loved one.  My mother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease two days after Christmas.  Christmas was also her favorite time of the year, and I thought that the next Christmas after her death (and all those to follow) would never be the same.  Well honestly it has been very different.  But to keep her memory alive I keep many of her traditions very present, and have passed them down to my children and grandchildren.  We speak of her often and rehearse the things she would do and say, and instead of tears it brings us great joy that we were so blessed to have had her in our lives.

I’d like to share some suggestions that could help make the season brighter for those who are struggling to find any illumination, and also add to the joy you’re already blessed with as you embrace this special season.

  • Take some time to share a conversation  –  it can be very therapeutic to just talk through your concerns
  • Listen not only with your ears, but also with your heart.  Try not to overlook signals that may indicate something beneath the surface that could be very serious, i.e. depression, thoughts of suicide, etc. (if suspected encourage them to see a professional)
  • Send a card with a heartfelt note inside
  • Invite them to your holiday gathering or outing you may going to, i.e. concert, movie, stage play
  • Give a meaningful gift if finances will allow
  • If someone has lost a loved one through death, encourage them to honor their memory by keeping a holiday tradition or special memory alive
  • Encourage them not to isolate themselves
  • Whisper a prayer for them every time they come to mind

This is a wonderful season to spread the love of our Savior as we commemorate His divine birth.  It is my sincere prayer that we will never get so caught up in the hustle and bustle, the decorations, and the gifts under the gorgeous Christmas tree that we neglect the real reason for the season.