We all have expectations of what Christmas ought to be. For some of us, the very thought of breaking out decorations, and gathering with family to share in the story of Christ’s birth makes us shimmer with excitement. While others cower at the thought of traipsing through crowded stores and crawling along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I tend toward the warm fuzzy feelings. Once Thanksgiving is over, I’m geared up for decorating, cookie baking, and breaking out my stack of Christmas CD’s.
But Christmas isn’t always a joyous time. I have friends who’ve recently lost a loved one and are facing the holidays without them for the first time. For these people, all the former joys associated with Christmas have faded away like melting snow. Others have lost jobs or have family issues that make the holidays more of a hardship than a treasure. When someone you know is hurting, how can you reach out to show you care?
Following are 5 ways you can actively help shake the Holiday Blues.
Be Sensitive – Scripture says to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) When someone is going through a rough time, the last thing they need is an earful of cheerful banter. Instead, they need a friend who will come alongside them and listen to what is on their heart. God wants us to be joyful, but not at the expense of someone else. Be sensitive to the difficulties others are going through by giving the gift of friendship.
Lift Them to the Lord – Telling someone you’ll pray for them is a big responsibility. Often we fall into the pattern of asking God to “be with” the person. Yet, isn’t that a cop out? Isn’t God already “with them”, waiting to unleash His power into their lives? We need to get specific in our requests, asking God to reveal Himself in very specific ways. Then, when our prayers are answered, the glory belongs to Him alone. Bring blessing into others’ lives by lifting them personally to the Father.
Be Hospitable – When things aren’t going well in someone’s life, the first reaction is to pull away from others. When someone you know is hurting, make an effort to include them in activities. Open your home to them, share a meal, or sit with them in church. Gently coax, but don’t force. Give them the grace to decline, and try again when they’re ready.
Be Jesus to Someone – Jesus spent a good part of His ministry years with the poor, the lame, and the undesirable of His day, those who had little or nothing to give in return. This Christmas, make an effort to seek out people who need the comfort of God’s love. Random acts of kindness are a great way to give anonymously. Give without expecting anything in return, and you’ll be blessed right along with those you help.
Look for Opportunities to Share Your Faith – People are never more open to the Gospel than when they are at a point of need. Be ready and willing to offer, not only your friendship, but the priceless gift of faith when the opportunity arises. Perhaps you’re the one facing difficulties in your life. If so, I pray you’ll seek the solace of the Savior and find renewed strength in His Holy Word. And may the Lord send someone to reach out to you in friendship in your time of need.
God’s blessings to you and yours this Christmas season!