Peace and blessing on this Fourth Day of Christmas!
The Christmas dust is settling in our home. We are having a wonderful holiday with family and friends. With the hustle, bustle and wonderment of four kids and many visiting cousins, we feel blessed beyond measure (and perhaps slightly deficient in sleep).
I am thankful that our Christmas season has been filled with great joy. I have been reminded several times over the past month, however, that the Christmas season is hard for many of our family members, friends and neighbors. It is easy for me to forget that reality amidst the twinkling lights, preparing and cleaning-up, and festive occasions. Advent is a wonderful time to reach out to hurting loved ones and neighbors, and so are the Twelve Days of Christmas. After all, many of us have children who are out of school, and parents may have lighter work or schedule obligations. Beginning this year, I want to make an intentional effort as a family to build time into our Christmas schedule for three groups of people for whom the holidays might bring a bit of sadness.
The Elderly: My 92 year old grandmother is homebound. I realized during Advent that visits from family members were growing less frequent because of all the holiday preparations. Since she was unable to attend my kids’ Christmas sing-alongs, we decided to pick a few days leading up to Christmas to go caroling at GG’s house. We brought our jingle bells, some cookies to decorate, and some Christmas art projects. The kids loved getting to lead the carols from their Christmas shows. GG loved it so much she had tears in her eyes. We’re planning to make a few trips to her house over the next two weeks during the Christmas break.
Parents who have lost a child: The Christmas season can be an annual reminder of loss for families who have faced the death of a child. Friends who have lost a baby tell us that handwritten cards or other memorials of their child during the Christmas season is a welcomed way to show support and love. We have put dates on our calendars to remember these loved ones year after year, knowing that the pain of losing a child doesn’t fade with time.
Those without family: We are blessed with large families with many gatherings over Christmas. I realize I can forget that many people have no one to celebrate with them. Our neighbor is single and lives alone. We live next to a university where sometimes students are unable to travel home for holidays. Our family gatherings are hectic and far from perfect, but they could certainly offer room for one or two more at the buffet if an invitation was extended.
I am interested to hear other groups of people that you remember in a special way during Christmastime. The poor and the sick come to my mind as well. We can always grow in our compassion and generosity, and this season provides a wonderful chance to do just that. Thanks be to God for our Savior in the manger and our opportunity to share His love with the world.