Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - right?

For many people, this is a super-fantastic time of year filled with wonderful sights, sounds and smells. No bad memories touch this time of year for them, and visions of sugarplums dance in their heads. I have never actually seen a sugarplum in real life, so I don't really know what one is, or why they dance, but you all get the idea.

For these folks, Christmastime is something to be looked forward to and enjoyed to the fullest. I can honestly say I'm delighted for these folks. I used to be one, and to have nothing but excitement and to be able to fully enjoy this time of year without any painful memories, is truly wonderful.

For others though, it's a little different. Some of us have lost a parent in this past year, or a spouse, a child, a dear friend, or have ourselves been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. This is the first Christmas where everything is different and it hurts a lot, no matter how much you wish it didn't. Some haven't lost anyone this past year, but have lost someone during this time of year, and each Christmas it's nearly impossible not to think of the sadness and loss of that person. Still others are facing yet another Christmas with someone gone that had been a part of our lives for a very long time, and no matter how many Christmas seasons come and go, there's just something not quite the same about it.

It's a difficult thing to see and hear the world get so excited and anxious over the joys of Christmas and all that is good about it, when somewhere in your heart and mind there's a sadness that encroaches on your ability to really have a "Merry Christmas". As much as you may not want to think about it or feel this way at all, it's there all the same and it's painful.

I'd like to offer some suggestions to my readers (and hope that others will contribute in the combox) on ways that you can be a help and a blessing to those around you that may be having a hard time, at this time of the year. These are just off the top of my head so if you have some ideas to add to this list, please do so:

• Make sure the person(s) is on your Christmas card list, and write a note in your card letting them know you're praying for them.
• Call them up and ask them out for lunch, or dinner, or coffee.
• Stop over for a visit if they're up for it
• If they're also hurting financially, see if you can't buy a bag of groceries and take them over. (Or anonymously pay their phone bill or light bill, or something along those lines).
• When you bake that first batch of Christmas cookies, set some aside on a pretty plate and take it over to them.
• If they have children, offer to babysit so they can run errands or just have an afternoon or evening to themselves.
• Have them over for Christmas dinner.

I'm sure there are many more ways you can bless someone this Christmas who is going through a difficult time, so why not add your suggestion to the list? Getting through that first Christmas when your life has been turned upside down, isn't a pleasurable thing to do. If you know someone going through this, you can make it just a little easier.