When Christmas Isn’t Merry

A perky rendition of “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer” played as I stepped out of the hospital elevator and made my way toward the small conference room. It was time to decide whether to take my father off the respirator. I was about to lose a parent, and the shallow music seemed a mockery.

Months after I lost my husband to cancer, I started carrying earplugs to the grocery store over the holidays to avoid melancholy songs like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

Yuletide is not the highlight of the year for everyone. For some it’s a time of dread, when everyone else seems happily united with loved ones. Memories of earlier joy taunt the lonely soldier in a far country, the husband with an unexpected pink slip, the woman with a positive biopsy.

I hope you’ll look for someone you can help this season. Someone who is hurting.  My friend Laurie recently watched as an old man at the pharmacy shook his head sadly and said, “I can’t afford that.” Then Laurie, who has little to spare herself, reached into her bag and placed the money on the counter.  The pharmacy technician wept and called the man back.

Christmas is about giving. Look for a chance to give to someone who’s not on your list.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall . . . have eternal life.” John 3:16

Sharon Sheppard