Reach out and welcome in.
During the holiday season we see suicide rates rise, alcoholics fall off the wagon and marriages crumble. Everyone is trying to survive the holiday…but many are not doing it well.If we want to not only survive the holiday season, but to thrive in it, we need to consider ways we can make the holiday better for someone else.
If you have decided to set a boundary so thick with the fam this year that you aren’t planning to attend their holiday gathering, then don’t sit at home alone.
You never know what could happen if you do that—you might find yourself in the middle of a hundred homemade booby traps—made up of your own unhealthy coping mechs!
Instead, I challenge you to step outside of yourself this year. If you know what it feels like to be alone, afraid, to be the foreigner, to feel unwelcome, strange, unfortunate, unloved, unsettled or unworthy, then reach out to someone else who may be feeling something similar. Give them a holiday they’ll never forget.
Make a difference this Christmas in your own home. Host a party for foreign exchange students. Send a Christmas dinner invitation to a friend who has lost a spouse or child through death or divorce. Invite an elderly neighbor over for lunch. Offer to have a meal with the homeless.
Adding a seat or two or five at your holiday table will not cost you much, but will make the world of difference for someone who is hurting and feeling lonely. And trust me, you will be the one receiving far more than anyone. It is a joy to give.
“…we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)
Reaching out and welcoming in also serves as a great example and opportunity for your kids to experience the true meaning and joy of Christmas: giving, not receiving. So take your family and serve at the local food pantry or shelter, write encouraging letters to those serving in our military or deliver some gifts to the sick kids in your local Children’s Hospital.
And if someone extends a welcome to you this year, don’t be shy—graciously accept it!
Let’s open our hearts and homes this holiday; let’s show others the truth that they matter and are loved; and let’s give the hope that things can get better. In turn, we ourselves might just come to understand and believe it too.
May God bless you as you reach out, welcome in and give to others in need!