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What is it About the Holidays?

We’re entering a season that seems to play out in three different ways for people.

For many, it’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” — most importantly, a time of celebrating Christ’s miraculous birth.

Of course, it’s also a favorite time of year for shopping, with many people eagerly anticipating the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Unfortunately, for some, there’s something about the holidays that can also make this one of the most difficult times of the year. Especially this year, with the pandemic causing all kinds of problems, more people than usual are alone, out of work, or ill. As a result, all the seasonal advertising and hype, and the sense that everyone but them is having a grand old time, can bring much pain.

For the most part, I’m in the first camp. Even though we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving just with our immediate family this year, I welcome the reminder of all that I have to be grateful for. And even though we may not make it to a Christmas eve service this year, I look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior who is central to all that I hold dear.

But I also have a foot in the third camp. While it’s been more than 15 years since my parents died, this season always reminds me of their final days. My mom died about 10 days before Christmas in 2003; my dad passed away less than a year later, the day after Thanksgiving in 2004. I had the honor of being at their side when they each drew their final breaths. Sometimes I’m surprised by how vividly those memories live for me.

All that to say that if the holidays bring you a mix of emotions, including some pain, I can relate.

So, here’s my encouragement. This year, as you make your holiday lists—whether grocery lists or gift lists—make one more list. Think of a few people for whom the holidays might be kind of tough. And then do something about it, something to brighten their spirits. You don’t have to buy them a gift; just sending a card that lets them know you’re thinking of them and they’re important to you would mean a lot.

I know you’ll make their holidays better, and in the process, I’m pretty sure you’ll make yours better as well.

From my family to yours, in whatever state you find yourself at the start of this holiday season, I pray you’ll experience God’s greatness and God’s goodness in very meaningful ways.

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