Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that I enjoy about the Holidays. I love to give more than anything, I love preparing the meal for my family gathering, and my son, who lives far away, is home, and the lights outside brighten up the dreariness of the winter. But I find it upsetting that when we see someone who is grumpy or miserable we use the phrase “that person is not in the Holiday spirit” . My cousin buried her 23 year old son last week. This is tragic any time of the year. No parent should have to go through the loss of their child. I started to imagine what she would experience going through a check out line at the grocery store and the check out person says “Have a Happy Holiday”. Of course, the intentions are good and meant to be kind. I don’t want to take away anyone’s enjoyable holiday but I do think that it is important to remember that people are still dealing with life despite the Holiday season. People still get sick, they still get a devastating diagnosis, couples still fight and families still struggle with life’s challenges. Finances are strapped even more, the pressure is on to get the perfect gift, expectations are high, our work load is more and yet somehow we forget that not everyone is happy and for a very good reason. Like so many, my heart is filled with warmth when I see a video of someone giving gifts to those who may not be in a position to buy gifts. But I think that in addition to gift giving, we can give more. You know that person who looks miserable in the check out line or the person who is simply walking around without a smile, you know who I’m talking about. We can set aside judgement and give them the gift of compassion, understanding, and empathy, even if we don’t know their story, simply try to imagine what their story might be. Maybe, just maybe, they are grieving the loss of a loved one or maybe they are scared or maybe they are dealing with health fears or maybe they are overwhelmed or tired, just maybe. I can’t think of a better gift to give than the gift of compassion, understanding and empathy.
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