Through the years I have increasingly realized the value of having a teachable heart. Esther 2:15 beautifully summarizes the blessings of that to me: "When the time came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her." Because Esther was willing to receive and heed council, she not only won favor, but became a queen who God used to save His people.
Can you just feel the energy building all around you with overflowing cornucopia's, pumpkin spice candles, lights, trees, and stars just about everywhere? Throw in a little, "Let it Snow" or "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" and you know you've arrived at just about any store around. We, as Americans, really seem to go all out this next month and a half! Like most, I absolutely love it! I love making our construction paper chains of what we are thankful for, people randomly smiling at others, going out of their way to bless those who may find themselves having less this year, reflecting on that night in Bethlehem when our Savior was born.
But I was reminded yesterday that Thanksgiving and Christmas can also be terribly lonely or hurting times for people. Although I have been there, it is so easy to forget. That first Christmas "without" mom, dad, aunt Betty or even a pet...these can be emotional and difficult times for many.
I in no way want to squelch even the littlest bit of your joy and excitement. I simply want to ask if you might go out of your way to do something kind for someone who is entering this season "without" someone special.
We can all probably think of someone. I don't mean that it is one more person for you to spend money on.Sometimes just knowing that someone is remembering your loss is all that it takes to encourage someone else. Sending a quick e-mail, a non-Christmas card, bringing them some chocolates and tissues and letting them know it is ok to grieve even when everyone else seems so happy. Just listening as they reminisce about past memories with the loved one lost.
After my mom had died, I remember that 1st Christmas without her...someone brought me an angel ornament and wrote a little note that they hoped the angel might represent that my mom was still with us in our hearts, but now she was able to dance and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at Jesus's table. It encouraged me. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." (Revelations 21:4) It also brought tears that I didn't even know that I needed to shed. It allowed me to continue the healing process instead of "stuffing" my hurt and just trying to keep moving forward along with everyone else.
So, if you can, take just a few minutes out of your busy season to bless someone and then jump right back into "The Wonderful Life" that you are living!
Lives near Washington D.C. with her wonderful husband of 15 years and their three precious children. She is the Co-Founder of Bloom! (a ministry for 4th/5th Grade Girls,)and she enjoys speaking at ladies events. Shanda is a Proverbs 31 Ministries "She Speaks" Graduate and can be contacted at email@example.com