Merry Christmas to all…

image courtesy of Lauren Honza Photography LLC…oh that it were so.

For many of us, especially those of us who are kids at heart, or get to enjoy the company of children during this season, it is one of the most wonderful times of the year.  I have been very much enjoying watching my kids reactions to christmas lights, Santa Claus, advent traditions, and so many other unique and fun things about this season.  Watching my two year old has been especially fun as her face lights up with every new experience.

However for many, this season is not the fun and delight that it is for others.

I think until recent years I’ve been so distracted by the craziness of the Christmas season that I failed to truly realize how difficult this time of year is for so many.  Sure I had heard that message plenty of times, but I don’t think I ever really slowed down enough to see it.  Plus, I didn’t realize the variety of stresses that this season brings.  I’m talking about real stresses here, not self-imposed stresses like waiting until the last minute to buy gifts.  Honest to goodness stresses.  The ones I always knew about were the individuals who have had loved ones pass away and feel lonely during this festive time, or those without homes, who are cold and in danger this season, and of course the less fortunate families who are wondering how and if there will be any presents this year.  But there is also those prone to seasonal depression which gets really bad this time of year due to how short the days are.  Don’t forget students who are coming close to the middle of the school year and are stressed out and tired because of it, or the families who are not exactly the healthiest for whom getting together can be more than stressful, it can be downright traumatic…

I could keep going.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a scrooge and kill your holiday egg nog induced buzz.  All I’m saying is as you go through the next few days, keep your eyes open to the people around you.  I guarantee you’ll find those who have a hard time being “merry” during this season.  If you do happen to see someone having a tough time try to invite them into the holiday spirit by giving something different than cookies or presents:  Offer the gift they truly need, and that will last more than just a little while…offer them yourself.  Offer your compassion, your help, your love, and especially your friendship.

In a way, you are simply following the example of Christ, and what could be more in the Christmas spirit than that.