John 16:22,23 – And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he shall give it you. (KJV)
A familiar tune that's heard throughout the Christmas season is Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas". Whether it's Presley's powerful voice, the strings of some instrumental, or the strains of friends pouring out their hearts in song, it is traditionally counted among the contemporary classics of Christmas music.
And although the words refer to the heartache of a love lost to someone else, it reminds us that there are those for whom Christmas is a pretty blue time… black, even. For they are without someone they love. Their loss is through death or impending death, and yet they must function in a world of joy and festivities. They hear repetitive phrases at checkouts telling them to "Have a good Christmas", or wishing them a "Merry Christmas" at a time when their world is falling apart.
Some churches and organizations have a special ceremony to acknowledge "Blue Christmases" where people can go and share their sorrow in a safe and understanding environment.
The world cannot stop around them. Store clerks cannot foresee their pain. What we can do, when faced with someone's pain in the midst of our joy, is to simply say, "I'm sorry". Perhaps in those two words, we are a part of His answer to what they ask of Him. We can acknowledge their pain and let them know we care. By our actions we demonstrate how Christ's love may work through us to begin to ease their pain.
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, help us to remember those for whom this is a painful and difficult time of year. Help us to be understanding of their reactions and of their needs. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.