What does a person do when they have eternity to be thankful for but a day coming up at the end of the week that they are dreading profusely? What does a person do when they can’t see past the pain they know is coming even though they are surrounded by people who love them? How do you help someone be thankful for all that they have when there is a depth of pain that is immense for what they don’t have?
I have joined a group of people who dread Christmas. For years, especially the last 16, Christmas morning has been something I looked forward to. This year, I would prefer to be oblivious to it’s existence because it is not as it has been, not as I have come to expect, not as I dream it would remain. The enormity of my pain as I think about that day is working to block out all that is good in my life. It is easier to be sad than to be thankful. It is easier to imagine being alone on that day than sharing it with people. It is easier, but somewhere deep down, I know it isn’t beneficial for me. So, I will join friends in activities on that day hoping to be distracted from the force that wants my heart to hurt and my mind to send a barrage of negative thoughts like a loop that never ends.
I have never been able to understand the pain people face at Christmas until now. And, not that I understand everyone’s pain, but I do have a sense of how pain can occur and how it can shake their foundation. If you are one of those who find this Christmas to be something you dread, I hurt for you. If you are one who still lives in the joy of Christmas, in the joy of the smiles and laughs of children and family, in the joy of remembering that what we are really celebrating is the hope for the future that was brought into the world through the birth of Jesus, relish it and try to share it with your friends who are hurting. Whether they will accept it or not, it helps to know you care and that there remains much to be thankful for whether we all want to believe it right now or not.
I know my words are not adequate for all who are hurting or all who can’t wait for Christmas to be here. I hope, in the absence of my ability to convey the right words, that you will hear the voice of God tell you what He wants you to know…and do…and that thankfulness will rule this season.
Grace and peace to you.