For most people, Christmas is a joyous season—filled with family, friends, food, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for the precious gift of His Son. It’s the end of the year, and in the midst of the hustle it’s also a time to slow down and appreciate the past eleven months.
But, for some, Christmas is a season of pain. And for many there is guilt that accompanies the pain because they know they should be focused on the beauty of the season and God’s great Gift. The pain is real and unrelenting though, and it comes from all kinds of places. The loss of a loved one or dear friend can bring a terrible pain at Christmastime. Memories come crashing back of previous Christmas seasons. Christmas traditions lose the joy that always accompanied them before a husband or wife or child or sibling passed away, or left.
For others, Christmas is a reminder of what they don’t have. Everyone else is married. Or, everyone else has children. Or, everyone else has a place to go where they are enveloped in belonging. The feeling of being left behind is overwhelming and particularly difficult as they scroll through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The burst of family craziness and fun in a Snapchat story might bring a momentary smile, but it’s immediately followed by an overwhelming sense of loss and feeling left out or left behind.
So, as we’re navigating this season and making plans, let’s all slow down enough to look around and see who might be hurting. Who has experienced significant loss this year? Who is navigating a first Christmas without someone who was dear to them? Is it possible to set a another place at your Christmas dinner table? Or, maybe it’s as simple as pausing before posting. Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing to treasure a blessing in your heart rather than post it on social media.
Who needs the care and love of your family this Christmas? Is there someone who needs a surprise bouquet of fresh flowers to cheer her heart this week? Is there someone who could use a shopping buddy to help overcome the paralysis of grief that’s keeping him from getting the things done he was hoping to get done before Christmas? Maybe someone wants to attend the Christmas service at your church but doesn’t want to go alone.
Life has some tough seasons, and we’ll all walk through them at some point, if we haven’t already. I think a very large part of God’s grace and mercy in our times of need is found through the people He places around us. He intends for us to be His hands and feet. So whose Christmas can you help make a little merrier and a little brighter this year? You and your family might just be the perfect answer!
I'd like to introduce you to Amy. I met Amy around the same time I met Andy. She was a fun-loving, full-of-energy teenager who always had a giant bow in her hair. She headed to Auburn and became an elementary school teacher. I'm pretty sure parents fought over having their kids in her classes! Amy... Read More
One of the things I appreciate about our church culture is that when something is working, we love to share it. We know we don’t have all of the answers, but we’re encouraged to share what we do know in order to help others go further faster. If you’re here, you must be curious about... Read More
Need a yummy side dish for your Christmas Dinner? Give this a try! Grandmama's Cranberry-Apple Bake 3 cups sliced apples 2 cups raw cranberries 3/4 cup sugar (I use Sucanat or dehydrated cane juice) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 cup rolled oats 3/4 cup flour 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or whatever nuts you like)... Read More
Sandra is a Georgia native and has lived in the Atlanta area since graduating from Georgia Tech in 1988. She married Andy that same year and they founded North Point Ministries in 1995. Sandra’s ministry passion is promoting foster care in the local church. Much of her time these days is spent in seminary classes through Dallas Theological Seminary, working on various writing projects, and continuing her involvement with Fostering Together – the foster care initiative at North Point Ministries.
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“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).