I'm taking a break today from posting about writing. If you'll indulge me, I feel led to do some reflecting.
My cousin found out a month or so ago that she has Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She has a husband who adores her and a 10-year old son. She's currently undergoing chemo.
After being extremely fatigued over the summer and being extremely sick and dehydrated for the past few weeks, my uncle (my cousin's father-in-law) discovered he has lung cancer, which has already matastasized to his bone.
One of my very best friends got divorced this past year from a very emotionally abusive man. She lost her job last month and is quickly running out of money.
Yesterday, my Bible Study group prepared a gift basket for a woman with chronic pain and health problems, whose husband virtually abandoned her to move several states away, leaving her to raise two children on barely any income and no support.
Maybe you know someone in a similar circumstance. Maybe you're the circumstance.
There are people (maybe you) who won't be having the perfect magical Christmas that the television commercials portray. There are people in pain and grieving and who will spend their holidays in a hospital or alone. I wonder how God feels when I get so caught up in my own little life and the crazyness of the holidays that I miss opportunities to be a light to those who are hurting. While I complain about the crowds at the mall or all the baking and wrapping I have to do, there are some who would give anything just to have enough money to buy their child a gift or have someone to bake for.
Shame on me.
Have you ever sat in the dark staring at your Christmas tree lights? Isn't it beautiful? Imagine that the Christmas tree is your world and you're one of those lights. You can add to the beauty of your world. You can shine to those around you.
Oh, my holidays will probably always be filled with shopping, wrapping, baking, planning...but I will be more aware of those around me. I will be spending more time praying, being a friend, and simply shining a light to those who are hurting. Want to join me? Consider the following ideas:
*Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru line.
*Invite a hurting friend for coffee.
*Head to the nursing home and spend time talking to the residents - ask the nurses which ones don't get many visitors and focus on them. Maybe bring a small gift to pass around or bring the kids to sing Christmas carols (if you're kids aren't little anymore, borrow your nieces and nephews).
*Hang lights or decorate the home of a single mother or someone in chronic pain. Offer to take down those lights after the holidays.
*Offer to babysit for a frazzled stay-at-home mom.
*Shovel (or snowblow) the driveway of an elderly neighbor.
*Bake several mini loaves of banana bread and pass them out to the homeless (or your neighbors!)
*Adopt a family for Christmas.
*Hire an out-of-work husband and father to do odd jobs around your house.
*Pray, pray, pray for those you come into contact with every day. You may not know their needs, but God does!
Below is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It's a perfect compliment to this post. I hope you'll take a minute to check it out.
What about you?
How do you keep things in perspective and look outside of yourself during the holidays?