Write Brilliant

Hot cider. Homemade treats. Music in the air. A dusting of snow. A brightly lit tree. The giggles of children. The lighting of the candles. The carving of the meat. The scents and sounds of the holiday season lunge and linger.

Yet for some, the holidays are painful.

The celebrations are reminders of not just who is there… but who is not.

The gatherings are reminders of not just what you have… but what you don’t.

The moments are reminders of not just what you’ve gained… but what you’ve lost.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

While writing the James: What You Do Matters Bible study, I discovered that during James’ time, an orphan was considered anyone who lost one parent, not just two. My hunch is you have far more orphans and widows around you than you realize.

Yet you, yes you, can be someone who helps heal broken hearts this holiday season.

Here are 4 ways to be a holiday balm to the hurting.

1. Speak the person’s name. If someone you know has lost a loved one, the holidays can be particularly difficult. One of the most powerful words you can speak is the person’s name. Say, “I miss James, too.” Or “I miss Kelly, too.” The acknowledgement can mean the world. And if you have a funny story about the person or warm memory, share it. “I still remember the year Matt wore that silly reindeer hat and made us all laugh with his imitations.”

2. Deliver dinner. You don’t need to wait until an official holiday to deliver a meal. You can take one tonight or tomorrow. Ask about food allergies/preferences. If that’s too much on your calendar, pick up a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Let them have the joy of ordering a meal in.

3. Look to serve. Rather than say you’ll do anything and place the burden on the person to decide how you can help, offer several different acts of service you can provide. Shovel the driveway. Bring packages in. Offer to care for the kids for an evening. Small acts of service can be a source of great love.

4. Listen. Ask the question, “What’s it like for you this holiday season?” and then just sit and listen. Allow the person to talk, to be honest, to share…without trying to fix the other person. You may just be giving the gift that’s most needed.

Let’s love well this holiday season.

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