Who Won't Be Home for the Holidays?

Author:
Sharon May, Ph.D. and Alan Hart

Part two in our series "How To Make Home For The Holidays in 2020 Happier."

Being home for the holidays is the sweetest longing we all have, so the song says. But this Christmas, many family members won't be coming home. How can we still hold onto peace, love, and joy when COVID-19 threatens?

Tears welled up in Vanessa's eyes as she shared her story. "My daughter's in-laws got COVID, so she and her husband won't be going over to their house this Christmas. And so as to not upset his parents, they decided not come to our house, either. They will spend Christmas without family." Vanessa's heart was broken.

Caroline could empathize. "It will be almost a year since I have seen my grandchildren. My daughter is pregnant and doesn't want to travel, nor risk having anyone over during the holidays."

It was Janice's story, though, that brought me to tears. "My parents are in a nursing home," she said. "I have to wave to them through their bedroom window since there are no visitors allowed. No hello kisses or hugs goodbye. It will be just a 'Merry Christmas, I love you!' through the glass."

My friend's husband was rushed to the hospital. She sat alone listening to Christmas carols in her car while her husband sat isolated in the emergency room. Many have sacrificed for the safety of others. It has come at a price to individuals, couples, and families.

Keeping your heart filled with understanding toward your loved ones despite their decisions not to travel for the holidays will be a challenge this Christmas. Christ came so we may have an abundance of life. A life filled with joy, gratefulness, kindness, and consideration for others. You need to show your family, friends, and community that regardless of what they do, who you are will remain the same. You will be consistently kind, considerate, understanding, loving, and forgiving.

I have two questions for you this December 2020… Who does God want you to be this Christmas? And, how does God want you to love those around you?

Vanessa was quick to answer. "I want to be a kind and accepting presence to my family. I really don't want to harbor resentment and or scold my kids for not coming for Christmas; I want to express support and show them love."

Caroline answered my questions similarly: "I don't want to make the losses during the holidays all about my hurt. I know it is difficult for my daughter. I want to show understanding for how difficult it is to socially distance and be isolated from others while trying to go through a pregnancy."

Janice answered saying, "It is easy for me to want to stay away from visiting my parents through the window because it is so painful. Yet, it means so much to them and I want to finish well with my parents. And to do that, I need to visit as often as I can."

And another friend answered by saying that her empathic heart for those suffering during the pandemic grew five sizes! "We are all impacted by COVID-19. We all need understanding and a whole lot of comforting during these times. Especially during the Christmas season."

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. And though it's a different kind of Christmas, strangely enough, it is okay. Why? Because our Savior is with us. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, to comfort those who are crushed, to offer hope for our future, and to let us all know that we are never alone—rather, we are always loved and cared for.

Let the love of Jesus fill your heart and overflow to those around you. No matter how disappointed you may be this year, allow others to feel the love of Jesus in you. Yes, Merry Christmas!

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed." Luke 4:18 New Heart English Bible Translation

Read part one in our series, How To Make Home For The Holidays in 2020 Happier: A Different Kind of Christmas in 2020

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