This holiday season, you may run into people along the way who are a step away from falling into an abyss. They may be struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or not wanting to live anymore. You won’t know it upon first glance or even after briefly speaking to them, but the darkness is there, hidden behind a broken smile, glossy eyes, trembling hands, or impatient responses.
It may be the cash register you chatted with briefly, the elevator attendant who welcomed you in, the shopping mall janitor, or the pilot who is making your family vacation possible.
Some of the people who are hurting the most, say the least. They suffer in silence because, time and time again, they have been wounded and rejected by those around them, so they choose to keep things inside, and slowly their desire to live begins to wither away.
There are so many people who are hurting and going through unimaginable circumstances, and the holiday season just makes things worse. In their frustration, they may not act in a way that you appreciate.
With that in mind, if you are out and about this month and next, please be mindful of your words and try to be extra kind to those around you.
So many are living in delicate glass houses, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Our words have the power to heal or destroy. What we speak can break the invisible delicate glass surrounding the human heart or build it up and add beauty.
Sharing love with people who are hurting isn’t hard. Here are some things we can all do:
-Smile with a grumpy sales attendant, and ask them about their day.
-Buy a coffee for a frazzled construction worker.
-Complement your grocery clerk and thank them for scanning your groceries or helping you carry them to your car. Give them a tip if possible.
-Offer to babysit the children of a parent who has a chronic illness.
-Bring a few home-cooked meals to a mom struggling to provide for her family.
-If someone shares a struggle they are having, offer to pray for them and ask them for a tangible way that you can help. If you cannot help them yourself, ask friends and family, and together, see what you can do collectively.
-Instead of giving gifts that friends and family don’t really need, give meaningful gifts (socks, blankets, jackets, food) to some of the homeless people in your community.
-Find a family struggling financially and speak to your church or local community to gather funds or resources for them.
-Make handwritten notes with scripture and messages of hope and hand them out randomly to people everywhere you go. I can’t tell you the number of times I have done this with my family during the Holidays, and strangers have cried and said to me that I had no idea what they were going through and that my note meant so much.
I hope this post inspires you to be more aware of the needs of those around you and encourages you to bring some joy to someone who is at the end of their rope.
Lastly, in the spirit of the upcoming season, I’ll share some lines I penned a few years ago.
“Cover me, oh Lord, with your tears of mercy – rain from the sky that you created.
Cover me, oh Lord, with the sweet essence of your spirit – a blanket to my days of winter.
Cover me, oh Lord, with the humility of the manger – make me malleable in your arms and ready to receive the true Christmas gift, the birth of your son.”
May you and yours be blessed.