By Kristen Johnson
The neighborhood is filled with Christmas lights, houses display brightly lit trees, packages are being wrapped, and children are laughing with joy. Yet, there are some among us who feel sadness and irritation during the holidays.
What do you do when you miss the big celebrations you had as a child, and realize that’s because everyone who cared about those celebrations is now in heaven? What do you do when you feel sad because most of your remaining family has moved away and you don’t spend holidays together anymore? Or, what if you don’t have any family at all? A few suggestions…..
- Try to keep your “bah humbug” spirit to yourself. Complaining just bums everyone out around you.
- Attend a “Blue Christmas” service at your local United Methodist Church. I have never attended one of these services, but I know several recently widowed ladies at my Church who speak very highly of it. It sounds comforting to have people around who may feel sad too.
- Make up your own “homeless” Christmas tradition. My husband and I did this several times when we lived in a place with no family around and my sister has been doing this where she lives for a long time. It’s simple – invite anyone and everyone around who doesn’t have a place to go to spend it together. Offer your house or apartment…..or better yet, go to Denny’s together so you don’t have to do the dishes.
- Remember that it’s okay to miss people who have died, and wish people who had moved away were still in town. God didn’t make us robots.
- Serve someone else. Honestly, this is the best cure for any sadness you may have. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, knit a scarf for someone in need, box up items for the Goodwill, etc.
- Do something silly – watch Die Hard and remember that it really is a Christmas movie. Go for a bike ride. Hug your spouse.
Most importantly, remember that Christmas really is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. (I realize it is incredibly difficult to remember that when we’re surrounded this season by gluttony, over-consumerism, greed, etc.)
Matthew 1:21 (NRSV): She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Serve all with love.
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