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Sometimes, Christmas Looks Different

on Friday, 18 December 2015. Posted in AWF Blog

It's time for, "Holly's long-winded post of the week". Earlier this week, I was in the checkout line at Target and overheard the lady in front of me tells the cashier that they weren't really celebrating Christmas this year because it's been an especially hard year, emotionally. In that moment, I felt compelled to reach out {aka - invite myself into the conversation}. I told the gal that I was sad to hear that. I told her how it's amazing to me that there are so many people hurting, struggling and just "making it through" the holidays. People are struggling emotionally, financially, or physically and yet, we are expected to have Christmas spirit and really enjoy the heck out of this special time of year. She smiled, exhaled and thanked me for my honesty. It was a relief to her to be allowed to be sad this time of year. She was so grateful for my listening ear and kindness, to which I responded with wisdom that I have gathered from years of joy and pain. I told her that some seasons are rough and we need someone to lift us up and extend grace. Other seasons are pretty great, and during those time we need to make sure we are extending grace and lifting others.

I can think of at least 7 people in my immediate circle who are fighting for joy this holiday season. They feel guilty for feeling sad, or not having Christmas Spirit. My response is simple. Sometimes, Christmas looks different. It's ok to be sad or to not "feel" the emotions that we are expected to. Everyone is hurting in some way or another and it's our job as human beings to stop, take notice, and show some care for each other. It's not about the gifts, obligations, Christmas cards, checking all of the boxes and trying not to disappoint anyone.... it's about being especially sensitive to people who are in need of a little bit of grace and love. For my family and I, the focus of Christmas is on the birth of our Savior, and our job is to be a light in a dark world. My hope and prayer for everyone reading this is that we would all look beyond our circumstances and seek out those who need a little light. For those of you who are going through a first season of holidays after a loss, know that you are not alone. Christmas just looks different, but His truths remain the same. I challenge all of you to slow down, put your cell phone away, make eye contact, extend a smile or warm words with a stranger. You never know how your simple kindness will affect their life. – Hollywhatsinaname

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