I once naively told a funeral director that Christmas must be his quietest time of the year (I figured that even if people were gravely ill they would try and hold on through the holidays). He looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “It’s our busiest time of the year, suicides are at their highest during December.”
I had no idea.
Once I began to think about it though, it sadly made sense. The media has always portrayed Christmas as being about happy people, in happy families, opening loads of gifts in cozy, decorated homes. For those whose lives don’t match that ideal, the Holidays can be pretty depressing. And, for those who don’t have a relationship with God, the Holidays can be almost intolerable.
So, what can we do?
As you think about sending out Christmas cards this year, think about what you’re sending out. Many people use their cards as excuses to brag about their lives; it’s likely sometimes unitentional. There are pictures of seemingly perfect children and letters about the happy accomplishments of each member of the family (including the dog).
But,, what if we thought about the receivers of the cards instead? What if, instead of a “braggy” letter, we jotted a quick note designed to edify THEM instead? What if we wrote a happy memory we shared or something that we really admire about them?
Take a look at your address book. Do you know single parents struggling to create Christmas for their children? How about someone dealing with mental illness or chronic disease? Has someone on your list lost someone they loved very much this year? Does one of your friends deal with depression, or do you have an elderly aunt or uncle who feels old and useless? Maybe you could brighten their day with a few sweet words.
For someone struggling to make it through the holidays, this kind of card could really brighten their day!
Just think, for the price of a stamp and less than five minutes of your time, you could truly make a difference in someone’s life. Let’s try.