During this festive season one often hears the familiar greetings of ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Holidays’, and ‘Happy New Year.’
I prefer “Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” but I’ll save the discussion on the why for another time.
Most, but not all, would say they love and appreciate this time of year. The snowing, the gathering, the singing, the feasting, the celebrating, the joy of the season.
Most, but not all, gather with family and friends, share food and festivities, give and receive presents, look forward to new beginnings and make resolutions they may or may not keep.
Most, but not all…
It’s this group of ‘But not all-ers’ that my heart goes out to. There is a myriad of individuals, couples and families that make up this group.
There are the grievers, who may be working through their first year of loss of a loved one and this Christmas season will be the first without their parent, child, spouse, or close friend. Or maybe they are grieving the loss of those loved ones who’ve passed on in years past. Or maybe they are working through the grief over the loss of a relationship, career, finances, and the like.
There are the lonely, who may not have anyone in their lives to celebrate special occasions with. The widow or widower who lost the love of their life. The orphan who has no one to call family. The homeless who has no place to call home.
There are the struggling who don’t know if they can make it through another day. The depressed, the anxious, the mentally unhealthy, the physically hurt. Daily working to survive their emotional, mental and or physical pain only to have it exasperated by this season of ‘joy and happiness.’
Where is the hope and joy for these ‘But Not All-ers?’ Hope can be found…
In the local churches that choose to live out their love for Christ by being present in the community and striving to meet these needs in visible and tangible ways.
In the local community that chooses to take care of their own by providing the necessary programs and funding to make sure no one falls through the cracks. In the one we call Jesus, who knows each one by name and knows what they are going through.
Who looks to the church and the community to work together to be his eyes to see, his ears to hear, his feet to go, his hands to serve and his heart to care.
When the church and community purpose to work together to meet the needs of the ‘But Not All-ers’ they represent the love of Jesus Christ to these individuals, couples and families.
Hopefully, given enough time, resources and compassionate love, everyone will be able to experience a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
We are indeed better together.
Pastor Don Huston is the Lead Pastor of Julia Street Community Church.