This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, give gifts, and enjoy friends and family. It can be a wonderful time, but for some it’s a depressing time.
Today, I was playing tennis with a group and overhead a discussion by a couple of women from the other team. One of the women had been married for 25 years, but recently separated from her husband and was facing Christmas and New Year’s alone. Her friend was inviting her to spend time with them. A great idea!
Special times of the year are times when depression can be worst as we face losses. One family just lost their daughter, another a parent or spouse.
We can help by being sensitive to these people and making sure they are included in our activities. Allow them to talk about their losses and encourage them to remember the good times. Ask them to show you pictures or tell you stories.
Don’t tell them not to be sad or to cheer up. It doesn’t help and simply makes them feel worse that they can’t do what you asked.
Scripture can be a comfort as we think of our loses. Recently, I have been remembering the fellowship we have in Christ suffering when we suffer. Ironically, suffering is a gift because it draws us closer to Christ and allows us to identify with him. We receive His comfort as we suffer so that we can share Him with others.
I talked with two different men this week who had both lost grown sons this year. Both of these sons were lost tragically in the prime of their life due to illness. How do you console men who have lost their sons? All I could do was remind them that God had lost his only son as well. He understands and shares their pain.
I pray that you have a joyous Christmas, and that you will also love those you know who aren’t having such a Merry Christmas.