Beneath the moonlit sky the snowflakes slowly drift downward, covering the ground below in a seamless soft, white blanket.
As far as the eye can see, the land glistens, and I am awed—brought back to the innocent wonder that I had many years ago as a child.
Under the warmth of a soft blanket, I lounge, gazing at the beauty of this mid-December night. The crackle of the fireplace interrupts my escapism and my attention is drawn to the radiance of the faded orange embers. I gently toss the blanket aside and move toward the heat of the fireplace, adding another log onto the fire. There is not a stir in the house; the world around me is quiet. My thoughts become the only thing that keep me company in my solitude.
I sit back down and am captivated this time by the warm glow of the lights on the Christmas tree—the light reflecting off both the ornaments that adorn the tree and off the many pictures of family and friends that decorate our living space walls. I pause in that very moment, lost in the magic, enthralled in one of the most pure moments of reflection.
Each and every one of my heart strings is tugged as I think about the holiday season that is now upon us. The celebrations, the magic, the memories. My eyes study the intricate details adorned by the ornaments on the tree, some that have been passed down from my family like time capsules of special Christmas moments shared in the years gone by. My moment of gratitude becomes suddenly interrupted by a heaviness in my heart. I know that to feel the joy of this season is a privilege. For some the holiday season is a stark, grim reminder of the hardships that they have been facing in their lives.
For the single parent, it’s a reminder of a failed relationship.
For the person who finds themselves physically or emotionally distanced from family and friends, it’s a reminder that they are alone.
For the couple that has been trying to keep it together, it’s a reminder of the brokenness.
For those struggling to make ends meet, it’s a reminder of the financial hardships.
Comparison becomes the thief of joy as cheerful songs, colorful displays, and heartwarming holiday movies portray a reality that is out of reach.
For many, Christmas is a season of magnifying glasses and mirrors.
And if you are fortunate, the glasses and the mirrors magnify and reflect all that you have to be grateful for. During the holiday season things that are good feel really, really good. On the contrary, however, for those facing adversity, the Christmas season has a way of magnifying those hardships. Things that are bad feel really, really bad. The kind of bad that turns your heart cold, the kind of bad that spins your mind, the kind of bad that makes your shoulders feel heavy.
So, if you are standing in a long line in a busy shopping mall, if you are enjoying a holiday party with your family, your friends, or your colleagues, if you are surrounded by the merry tidings of comfort and joy or lost in the beauty of the glow of thousands of Christmas bulbs, don’t forget the people who remain standing in the shadows.
The people whose hardships—the sadness, the loneliness, the stress, the heartbreak—feel too heavy to carry and almost too much to bare. The people who are just trying to make it to the next day or to the next week. The people who while you sit in the comfort of your warm, cheerfully lit home sit alone, silent, and in the dark.
This, my friend, is a reminder to you.
While your list of things to do may be never-ending, while your calendar might be full, and while you may feel like there are not enough hours in the day, make time. Make time to be kind to one another, to be patient, to smile at those you meet; make time to check on your family, your friends, and your neighbors. While some sing dreaming of a white Christmas, others wish for nothing more than a Christmas that just didn’t feel so blue.
As I retreat back in to the warmth of this blanket, gazing at the glow of the Christmas tree and embracing the heat from the fireplace, I remain humbled. For many, Christmas is an unwelcome time magnifying the hardships in their lives and a giant mirror forcing people to come face-to-face with the wounds and the scars from the year that has passed.
My wish for you this Christmas, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in, is that you give.
Give a smile.
Give these things to others, and remember just how worthy you are of receiving these exact same gifts from yourself.