Around this time of year people are spending their time in a variety of ways. Either they are working incredibly hard trying to get their work done before the end of the year, or maybe they are shopping for Christmas presents. They might be dreading the holidays for they know they will be alone, or they might be embracing them and all the love and joy that comes from being surrounded by family and friends. They might be worried about money, or have tons to share. The fact of the matter is that everyone you know is going through something, or dealing with someone, and this time of year, especially, we need to show them grace.
If you have run into someone as of late that might be particularly irritable, find a way to talk to them and see what is going on with them. Perhaps they are going through a divorce, or perhaps they have lost their job – you don’t know what might be the thing, the catalyst, that causes them to lose it this time of year. For some it is the overwhelming happiness that seems to be everywhere that gets to them. For those that are clinically depressed, this time of year can be particularly painful. There is too much happiness surrounding them that they just can’t feel. They know that they should be happy too, but they can’t seem to climb out of the hole that they are in. This time of year we need to be aware that there are those that are not feeling the joy; not feeling the love; and feeling simply like they are drowning. These people must be shown grace. These people must be told, and shown, how important they are to the world and to everyone around them.
Not going into details, but my children recently lost one of their best friends to clinical depression. No one saw it coming. Her parents did all the right things, stayed on top of the situation, got her counselors and anti-depressants – none of it was enough. There was a moment, a moment that will forever haunt the rest of us, where the sadness for this child was too much; where the darkness was just too dark. In that moment, our world changed forever. It can happen to anyone, and this time of year it is almost more prevalent simply because they are unable to feel the joy that they think they should be feeling and it just becomes too much.
So this holiday season, say hello to the angry man in the store; smile at the store clerk that seems to be irritated; offer to help the overwhelmed mother of three trying to buy groceries; wave on the man trying to pull out in front of you; and hold your little ones close and thank God that they are safe and sound for today. Be patient, be graceful, be loving – the world needs it more now than ever.
Because tomorrow will bring what it will, but if you have brought grace into the lives of others – you will be more prepared to meet whatever lies ahead….