‘Tis the season of bright lights, mechanical reindeer, and inflatable snowmen. It’s a joyous experience of family coming together to celebrate their life together.
For many, the time is filled with blessing. They are blessed to have family together. They are blessed to have food o the table. They are blessed to have a life to live together.
Yet, for many others, the pain of the holiday season is far too real. They sit together with one less person around the table. They have one less present to buy. They have one less hand to hold for prayer and hug to give before the day is through.
It is a hard time of the year for those who have lost loved ones or have had major shifts in their marriage, finances, work, etc.
This year, I have had close friends lose parents, siblings, and spouses. My wife lost her grandmother. I had a good friend lose his job right before the holidays. I just had another friend lose his unborn child a few days ago.
The pain is real.
So, how do the blessings and pain intersect?
The platitudes are not enough. The, “I’m praying for you” or “God is with you” remarks might be with good intention, but they often times fall in the category of “I’ve heard that before”.
The blessings and pain truly come together when the blessed step into the pain.
That sounds so simple, but it isn’t.
The blessed step into the pain when they are able to empathize and walk in the shoes of the afflicted. When they can seize the opportunity to truly pray for the people who are hurting.
Maybe, take it a step further and call the people and pray over the phone. If you’re close enough, go to visit and pray.
The people you know who have lost their jobs, play a secret Santa role. They don’t need to know you did anything, save their dignity, and offer a financial help. Be wise in this, but if you know the person well and you know they are struggling, this could be a nice way to serve.
Why isn’t this simple?
Because it is asking us to step away from ourselves for the holidays.
We get so caught up in our hustle and bustle with shopping, cooking, wrapping, cleaning, etc. that we forget about others that are not in our immediate circle. Perhaps we need to slow down to remember why we celebrate.
You see the actions I mentioned are a direct reflection of Christ’s work on earth. He saw the immediate need, He came to serve and love for the glory of God, and ultimately change the pain to healing.
Our small acts of service can help with the healing process.
Our active service in the lives of the broken can demonstrate the purpose of Christ being born.
Take some time to think about who you can serve today. You can pray for everyone, but who can you sit with and listen to? Who can you hold that needs a hug? Whose hand can you embrace to show unity and love? Who can you leave a gift for without needing recognition?
Pray about that. Help your blessing bring peace to the pain.
May you embrace the meaning of Christmas this year. May you come to see that the baby in a manger was the point where blessing and pain intersected. May you see Christ in everyone you interact with this season.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: How can I pray for you this Christmas?