13 days to go…my kids are most certainly counting down. 13 days until Christmas. 13 days until “the most wonderful time of year” culminates. But for many, it is 13 more days of dread. 13 more days of missing the spouse that died this past year. 13 more days of the reminder that they won’t be having a family Christmas celebration because a spouse no longer wanted to be a family. 13 more days of missing mom and dad for the college student unable to make the trek home. 13 more days of discomfort as the young adult still adjusts to the unknown area after moving here for work.
As we go about the last minute preparations, the last minute decorating, gift buying, cookie baking, let us not forget the lonely.
As we cling to our family traditions and see Christmas as a “family holiday,” let us not overlook those who don’t have family nearby. For the Christian, every believer is a brother or sister in Christ, and aunt, uncle or grandparent in the Lord, a son or daughter through Christ. Every unbeliever is a person made in the image of God.
For the Christian, every believer is a brother or sister in Christ, an aunt, uncle or grandparent in the Lord, a son or daughter through Christ. Every unbeliever is a person made in the image of God.
Lift up your head and look around; who might be hurting this time of year while you are celebrating?
Is there a new widow who will be spending this Christmas without her spouse of 5, 10, 50 years? Invite her into your festivities. Have her over for Christmas Eve dinner, or even Christmas Day dinner. Ask her questions about what she remembers most from Christmases past, what traditions her family kept, what was Christmas like in her childhood?
Is there a single mom or dad who is trying to figure out how to make Christmas fun for children who are still mourning the abandonment of their father or mother? A single mom or dad who is grieving what was once such a joyous holiday but now just brings reminders of hurt? Ask them to join your family on Christmas day, and even have a gift or two for their children if possible, reminding them that they are loved and cherished.
The college student or single adult, don’t assume they have somewhere to go. Invite them to join you. Even if they have other plans, your asking lets them know they are cared for. If they don’t, they may be thrilled to have others to spend the day with.
Yes, I know it is a lot of work to accommodate more people at your family dinner…do it anyway! Show the love of Christ, not gritting your teeth, but joyfully. Not outwardly doing what is right and good but inwardly irritated and annoyed. Lack of enthusiasm will not communicate love and care, but will make it clear that you find these people a burden; so don’t think you can fake it! No one wants to feel your pity any more than you want to be pitied. They do, however, want to feel appreciated, loved, and that their presence is desired.
So this year start a new tradition: find a non-family member to invite into your festivities, and then treat them like the best of family. After all, Christ left the comforts of His home to come so that we can not only be treated like family, but BE family.