So here’s the thing about Christmas.
I know these are special days. My little boy is walking now and as he toddles (and stumbles) towards the front door, he’s on a mission to gaze in delight at our neighbor’s blinking lights.
Want to capture wonder? Watch a toddler at Christmas. Everyday is a wonderland.
But I’m keenly aware, in the midst of all this excitement, that there are those who are hurting this Christmas, those who’d rather skip Christmas than celebrate it, who feel overwhelmed with sadness, no matter how many cookies they consume.
I can’t forget what it was like to spend my first Christmas without my son. And I know there are thousands out there who will spend their first, or even second, or third Christmas without their child, their spouse, or parent.
For those that grieve, the day will be tinged around the edges with sadness, a blue stain that covers everything—every gift opened, every cookie eaten, every carol sang.
You just can’t get the stain out. It gives every celebration a tinge of sadness.
For the rest of us, our Christmas goes on as normal. But this doesn’t give us an excuse to ignore those who grieve among us.
Although we can’t take away their pain, the one thing we can do is not forget them this Christmas.
I think that means a lot of different things to different people. It might mean inviting Harry over for dinner or making sure Sally has someone to sit with at church.
Sometimes it’s just writing an extra note in your christmas card. One that says, “I know this is a difficult Christmas. I haven’t forgotten how much Jimmy meant. I’m praying extra hard for you.”
There’s something about being remembered that way. Maybe it’s because we realize that we’re not alone in this, even though it sometimes feels that way.
Maybe it’s because God gave us the gift of relationships and part of that purpose is not to carry the burden of life and death by ourselves.
But I haven’t forgotten those who will struggle through the day, who wish that things could have turned out differently.
Like the mama who won’t hold her child this christmas. Who is separated by distance or a broken relationship, or death. The one who will spend the day thinking of the life that could have been. The one where her child was there, Christmas morning, by her side.
I haven’t forgotten the man or woman who won’t be celebrating christmas with their spouse. Who will look at all the couples sitting in church on Christmas Eve and wonder why they are alone. Who will try to paste on a smile for the kids, while their heart is breaking underneath.
I haven’t forgotten the caregivers who are helping their sick loved one, who will not spend the day celebrating, but will spend it in a hospital room, in hospice, or at home, surrounded by medical equipment and pills.
There are many more I haven’t listed who will spend Christmas alone for one reason or another. Here’s what I want you to know:
I’ve been thinking of you for weeks. My heart breaks with yours. You are not forgotten this Christmas.
My prayer is that your heart is comforted by the One who also knew sadness and joy—Jesus, the baby, who was born for us.
The One who brings us the hope of heaven.