Thankfulness may run deeper than a single holiday
What is it that brings some people together during the holidays? Could it be that yummy turkey for which your mother is so famous? Is it the gathering of loved ones or the time where you finally got that new video game you have always wanted? For some reason, it seems as if for many of us, our worries and stress melt away around this season.
We have the hope of returning home to loving arms and embracing our childhood traditions. Maybe this year, you might be responsible for a new tradition. Whatever the case, sometimes we tend to overlook to true meaning of why we celebrate the holidays and why we come together.
The holidays are not about the food or even Santa Claus … yes, I went there. All of these things have become a delightful illusion for so many of us. Instead, we should use this time to reach out to others. Though this sounds a bit preachy, I have also been guilty of overlooking the true meaning of the season. Do not get the misconception that any of these things are wrong. I encourage you to add more ornaments to your tree or eat as much turkey as your heart desires. Let us just think for a moment outside the box.
Just recently, I was faced with a reality that caused me to think about the season. I was in the lobby of Keck Hospital of University of Southern California and noticed a doctor approaching a woman. After the doctor had spoken, she burst into tears and her family members began to embrace her. As I witnessed this, it made me realize that while we are excited about the season, someone else is mourning over a family member during the holidays. While we make plans for Black Friday, many are struggling for food and shelter. As we complain about that annoying family member, others are ending their lives because they cannot bear another lonely year.
Maybe this person is closer than you think. It could be your classmate, next-door neighbor or even your roommate. We can pretend that everything is fine but it does not eliminate the fact that someone is in desperate need of love.
Now you might be reading this thinking,“Someone will always be in need during the holidays, why should I do anything about it?” Although people are always going to be in need all year long, the holidays can be a great time to focus on others instead of being self-centered. Just remember that tragedies do happen in life and they could happen to anyone.
You also might be asking, “OK, so what exactly should I do?” Although I cannot tell you exactly what to do, I can provide some advice. Start by asking God to show you what to do in order to help others. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you see what most people overlook. Perhaps you might be surprised that reaching out to someone does not necessarily mean you have to travel across the world. Reaching out has no boundaries. It could even be that one sometimes disagreeable family member. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
So do not let the holidays pass you by before reaching out to someone. In a world that has been so immersed in commercialization, let us show the world that the true meaning of the holidays is to represent the love of Christ.