Each year, I meet friends who have lost loved ones–parents, siblings, children, spouses, and best friends. What is the most wonderful time of the year for many, is the hardest for others. There have been several posts on Facebook related to grief during the holiday season. Some relate to what grievers wish others knew or would do. Some relate to loss experienced when a change occurs and a woman faces Christmas as a single Mom.

Just this morning while wrapping presents, I thought of someone sitting by a hospital bed, and two texts arrived asking for prayer for others in life altering health issues. Several years ago, out of my own grief, I wrote a piece for Penned from the Heart. Christmas Contrasts. It applies not only to grief as we think of it, but life altering change we didn’t welcome.


Christmas–we sing carols, gather with family and friends for celebration, exchange gifts, and send cards giving our latest news. Yet, in our festivities, we may forget that…

     While someone is laughing, someone is grieving.

     While someone is busy planning, someone feels numb and lonely.

     While someone sets a table for many, someone sets a table minus one.

     While someone celebrates, someone is hurting.

     While someone decorates with tinsel and lights, someone else’s sparkle has been diminished.

     While someone opens gifts, someone knows one of their most precious gifts is gone.

     While someone writes a card or letter, someone has signed it with one less signature,

While someone looks forward to new experiences, someone see them as a future loss.

While someone is shopping, someone is maintaining a hospital vigil.

Circumstances such as death of a loved one are irreversible, but could you be an instrument to offer strength and comfort to a grieving person–or someone facing a serious illness, by letting them know you remember? A call, visit, or card can be a comfort. And, when you don’t know how to specifically pray, consider filling in that person’s name in the apostle Paul’s prayer and pray for them today.

 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

Well into the first semester, here are 15 Timely Thoughts to Encourage College Freshmen

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