Christmas Quiet Comfort

Black Friday is our big day to change the decorations in the house over from the Orange and Browns that have decked the halls from Oktoberfest to Thanksgiving to the Red and Greens of the Christmas holiday season.  This year we were in the thick of this transformation when I had to run an errand and pick up a few supplies for dinner. On my excursion I saw a neighbor of ours and said in my very cheerful voice "Hi Neighbor! How was your Thanksgiving". As soon as the words slipped out of my mouth her eyes reminded me in that split second that perhaps I shouldn't have been quite as cheery in my greetings. It had been such a long time (for me) that I had almost forgotten that it was much earlier this year that she had lost her grown son in a terrible accident. My heart sunk and I wondered how I could have let that slip my mind so easily. 

She was super nice and just politely said "It was quiet". She went on to tell me how she had celebrated the day with other friends of her son's. She said she wasn't going to go but they had called her and said that they needed her to be there. I said how sorry I was (I felt terrible and wasn't sure what else to say) but somehow I think she needed to talk about it and she went on to talk about their Christmas plans which would focus on her grandkids but that, as far as she was concerned, there really wasn't going to be a Christmas this year. It was her son's favorite time of year and she just didn't even know how she was going to be able to decorate or fix any of the traditional treats that he used to love.

Today being the first day of Advent is really the first day of preparing for Christmas Day and this conversation with my neighbor was a powerful reminder to me about what we are really preparing for. It is not all the presents, the wrapping, the cards, or the lights. It is the time of year to focus on those who need us most. 

When you are zipping down the road in a hurry trying to get everything on your list done in a day just take a second to look at the other houses along the way and remember your neighbors. Think about that neighbor who may have had surgery earlier in the summer. Are they doing ok this holiday season? Think about the neighbor whose son is deployed on some military mission this holiday season. Are they being able to celebrate the season while worrying so much about their child? And think about those neighbors who have lost a loved one this last year. How are they filling that hole in their heart and making way for the Joy of the season.

It is easy for us to think about our charitable giving with St. Judes, or Toys for Tots, or other outlet for giving to our community because they are asking us for our help. 

This holiday take a moment and say a prayer for all of those near us who may be hurting but who won't ever ask us for help.


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