The holidays can be a tough time for many people. A recent study performed by the researchers at Amazon revealed that 6:30 pm on Christmas Day is prime time for ugly family disagreements to rear up their nasty face. Disputes between siblings or with momma top the list of potential holiday hazards. No doubt tension and trepidation may be the only gifts waiting to be unpacked under some family trees. We’ve all probably experienced the family member weathering a season of social toxicity. The holidays can bring out the worst in some people.
But family dysfunction isn’t the only challenge that people face during a time that the rest of the world gathers to celebrate faith, family, and the future. Loneliness and discouragement are often served alongside abundant helpings of anxiety and stress. People all around us are hurting. I’ve read that over 2/3 of people are experiencing a life crisis of some kind or another at any given time. As a chaplain, I see the hurt people are experiencing first hand. People are mourning the loss of loved ones, grappling with job loss, or simply wrestling with discouragement concerning their present life situation. Many folks are trying to cope with financial stress, even though our economy is booming.
While spending time with family can be challenging, it can also be extremely helpful. Studies show that suicide rates actually decrease during the holiday largely due to the uplifting support being with family can provide. I think strong family ties help individuals. I’ve certainly seen the impact that the lack of godly men has on children, particularly young men. Broken homes, divorce, and absentee fathers have left a wake of disillusionment and discouragement.
If you suspect someone in your family or circle of influence is suffering simply ask “how are you doing?” My guess is that they may welcome the conversation and the opportunity to be seen and heard. If you ask, be sure you take the time to actively listen to them. Don’t worry. You don’t have to have all the answers. You really actually may not need to have any answers. I’ve found that a lot of times people know the answer; they just need to be able to express it aloud.
Don’t forget to pray. Pray with those in your circle who are hurting. Pray for them when you’re not with them. Prayer really does work. I’ve seen God answer prayers for people. Individuals I’ve prayed with have graciously shared with me when the Lord has answered their prayers.
To experience life the way God intended, you and I must receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. This gift from God is available to all who ask. Will you personally receive the gift of eternal life so that you can experience the total forgiveness from your sins that come through believing in the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
As always, thanks for reading. For nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37)
The Devotional Guy™
ABOUT: The Devotional Guy™ is a writing ministry of Chaplain Rainer Bantau, a Swiss-born, German kid who grew up in East Texas and today ministers throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
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