The title of this piece is one of the phrases I hear from time to time at this season of the year. It is true for some holidays are a very stressful time. One of our church members shared the following thoughts and I wanted to pass them along as I felt they are particularly appropriate.
“It’s important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and sometimes are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring thoughts and loving prayer right now. Give a moment of thought and support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune.”
I interact with many, many people and there are quite a few who struggle with the issues listed above. Loneliness, being separated from families and physical struggles are only a few. We deal with the stress of the general condition of our world, the shortcomings of our government officials, the loss of morals and ethics in our country and the promotion of those losses by our “entertainment” industry.
How do we deal with these problems? I know that not everyone will be able to handle them in the same way, but for me and my house, the answer is found in God’s Church. For the past 40 years most of our holidays have been spent away from our immediate families. At times we have lived in states which were too far removed from family to reconnect physically during the holidays. For a period of time we lived in Africa working as missionaries, separated by half a world from our physical families. What has always made the difference has been our church family. Those other folks, who just like us, deal daily with physical, financial and spiritual struggles.
I think it is important for us to take a extra special look around us. To really see our friends, neighbors and fellow church members and take note of who might need an extra amount of care and encouragement.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in Hebrews 3:12-13 where the writer outlines our responsibility. He encourages us to: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
What happens when we drop the ball and fail to encourage others? They sometimes turn away from God. Galatians 6:2 tells us to: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”. How about trying a little harder to encourage others, especially at the holiday season, it’s the least that you can do.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is the Director of World Christian Literature Outreach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.