Tidings of Comfort and Joy
Have you ever felt out of place? Maybe feeling as though everyone else—except for you—was on the same page? Or maybe you’ve felt stuck while everyone around you seemed to be moving along in their lives, so full of hope and purpose. If you’ve grieved the loss of anything at all, then you can probably relate to these complex emotions. Even in the midst of the Christmas season, our disappointments, losses, and loneliness are still real and valid. So how can the church spread tidings of comfort? Here’s what unwrapping the gift of joy looks like during the holiday season.
1. Be a refuge and safe place.
Firstly, the church can be a refuge for all people from all walks of life. When it comes to our brothers and sisters who are hurting, we must empathize with them, meet them where they are, and walk alongside them. While we may not be able to heal their hurt, we can practically serve them during the holiday season. This can be done by simply inviting them into our homes. We can share a meal and participate in the holiday festivities together.
It’s important for us to remember those who don’t have family near. Not everyone gets to wake up on Christmas morning to parents cooking breakfast and smiling children opening presents. We have the opportunity to share these joy-filled traditions with them and be a warm, safe place. Imagine how loved someone would feel if you chose to invite them to be a part of your Christmas festivities. Even if your invitation is turned down, being thought of is enough to spark a bit of joy in that person’s life.
2. Share your hope and compassion.
Secondly, we must be willing to share the hope we have while also being a listening ear to our grieving friends. There’s a balance that we must maintain when dealing with difficult life circumstances, especially in light of the added emotional weight of Christmas. The holidays come with a lot of assumptions and expectations for many people. So it’s important to care for others and their experiences, especially if they have recently experienced loss or disappointment. Combining careful compassion with steady hope for the future is the best combination for our friends and loved ones alike.
We shouldn’t assume that everyone has ideal Christmas plans. We’re doing more harm than good when we neglect the possibility that the person we’re speaking with is suffering. It’s important to listen to our friends and consider what they need from us during this Christmas season, even if it doesn’t align with what some would consider normal. What better way to bring joy to someone than to consider their actual needs as more important than what you think they need?
Unwrapping The Gift of Joy
While Christmas certainly is full of great joy, food, family, friends, and fun, we must not get lost in the whirlwind and forget to welcome and comfort those around us. After all, isn’t that what the celebration is all about?
As we continue through this holiday season, let us not forget to lend a helpful hand, a listening ear, or an encouraging word to those in need. Consider how you can share the hope found in Jesus. You never know what someone is going through or what they may need from you. Be willing to open yourself up to others this Christmas, unwrapping the gift of joy alongside those who need it most.