BOISE, December 14, 2015 – Christmas can be a time of joy for many people, but not everyone goes through the holidays feeling great. For some people, the holidays roll around at a not-so-happy time, which can make it seem difficult to get through. All the joyful singing and dancing, the sparkly lights and decor and happy and funny Christmas movies may not be interesting or enjoyable for some people.
We have all been lonely
We have all experienced those Christmases and New Year’s Eves when things weren’t going so well in our life, and we felt sad. Most of us know what it’s like to be down-hearted or seriously depressed. We all know how hard grief or loneliness feels. Some of us know what it’s like to be out of work, or out of housing, or traveling somewhere alone. We all know that stress can build up, and seem overwhelming, especially this time of year.
Reach out and help
This year, why not try to reach out, open your heart and be there for someone who needs a little extra kindness and help at Christmas? Maybe you can volunteer to help someone who needs it. Perhaps you know someone who just needs some companionship. Find out through your church or school or community how you can help those who may be struggling physically, financially or emotionally. Give your time and efforts to making life a little easier for someone. Help those who are depressed or lonely this Christmas.
Think about others who may need help
Try to think about all the people who may be having trouble getting through the holidays. Christmas can be a difficult time for anyone who has recently divorced or had a relationship end. It can be hard for someone who just lost a loved one to cancer, or a widow or widower who lost their partner after many years of marriage. The holidays can be tough for anyone who is separated from those they love by many miles, or has relatives in the military who are serving overseas.
There are many reasons why Christmas can be a trying time. The holidays can be difficult for any person or family who is grieving. And, there are those who for some reason, may just be spending Christmas alone this year. There are many single people who don’t have anyone to share a Christmas dinner with. There are empty-nesters, whose children live in other areas. There are also many elderly people who live alone or in nursing homes and care centers, who do not have many visitors. There are people in the hospital with serious illnesses, who are not well enough to go home for Christmas.
The lonely don’t advertise
The problem with the lonely and the depressed, is that they often don’t tell anyone how badly they feel. A person can be in need of help, but they may not reach out and tell anyone about their problems. You can’t just drive down the street and look for a sign in the window or a lamp post banner that says “depressed person in need of help”. That’s not the way you find out in today’s world. The lonely and depressed don’t always advertise to everyone what is wrong.
Sometimes people are too proud to ask for help or their self esteem might be so low that they are too ashamed to admit that they are helpless or fearful. There are some people facing drug, alcohol or medical addictions which they hide from their families and do not seek help. Some people may be down and out at Christmas because they could be suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Depression is a very widespread mental problems that can vary from mild to serious, as in the case of those who are contemplating suicide.
Look around for those who need help
This is why, if you want to help, you must try to increase your awareness of the people around you- those at your work, your family members, people you meet at the grocery store or walking down the street. Open your eyes wherever you go, and you will likely find someone somewhere who needs a little help. There are people in all walks of life that struggle with depression and loneliness everyday in ways that are not always obvious. But if you have an open mind and love in your heart, I guarantee you can find some way to spread it around.
Love your neighbor
When you think about the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate the season, it is all about loving your neighbor and being a true Christian. As you live your life everyday, it is not that difficult to find people who need help, because we all need help at some time or another with the challenges that life brings to us.
What goes around comes around
Think back to a time in your life when you were sad and how someone helped you survive. Once I was broken hearted and my son gave me a gift for Christmas. It was a picture he made and the title of the image was just one word: hope. I cried my eyes out when I realized that he knew I was feeling hopeless. It doesn’t matter whether help comes from your children, your parents, your best friend, or a complete stranger. The important thing is that help comes to you. What goes around, comes around and the love you give to others comes back to you many times more, because love is limitless.
Be willing to help
As Christmas rolls around this year, try to look around you, open your heart, reach out and give of yourself to someone who needs help. Anything you do has the potential to make a big difference to someone who is struggling for whatever reason. Help someone you don’t know. Even the smallest favor you do for a complete stranger matters very much. Just know that you are capable of helping and believe in the power of love to provide warmth and healing. That is all you need. Just be willing to help.
Be there for someone
Have faith in God and trust in His Goodness, and your faith will sustain not only you this year, but others around you. This Christmas you could be the angel that rushes to someone’s side and holds them up during the hard times. Merry Christmas!