by Mischa McCray
Christmas is perhaps the most hyped time of the year. How many holidays get a solid 2 months of "preparation" for one single day? You could have started buying Christmas decorations in Walmart in October! But as we continue to march on towards Christmas, I wanted to take a quick second to remind you that for many people, this is actually the hardest time of the year.
There's no time of the year that we emphasize more the importance of family than Christmas. And while family is amazing and a gift from God, it also can highlight the holes in our family. So many times I meet with people who talk about how difficult the holidays are. There's this assumption that we are all supposed to be joyful and excited, but people who have experienced loss are often times feeling anything but that. So, what can you do to maybe help those people who are hurting?
Well first, be aware that other people's experience isn't the same as yours. If you're really excited for Christmas, that doesn't mean that everyone else is, too. This doesn't mean that you can't be excited. Rather, make sure that you are meeting other people where they are. If you know that someone is going through a hard time, don't insist that they push it aside and just enjoy themselves. Most of the time, people can't do that.
Second, be aware that people who are hurting and experiencing loss isn't limited to those who have experienced a death. There are people who are going through divorce, the loss of a job, the loss of a friendship, or other changes that can cause them to experience grief just like the loss of a loved one.
If you know someone who seems to be feeling this way, reach out to them. Invite them over or ask them to go out to eat with you. Show them that you care about their experience and share it. A lot of times, it is those seemingly small choices to reach out to someone that opens doors to have conversations that you never thought would be possible. And, if you get the chance to hear about their dislike of the holidays, remind them that the ultimate reason that we celebrate this time of year is because Jesus was born. It is because of his life that we have hope beyond the pain and suffering we experience here on earth. And, that is something that everyone can celebrate, including those who are grieving.