It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - But Not for Everybody


Image by Shenzi (2015) via morguefile

The Halloween decorations are down, and already all the stores have their Christmas decorations up. Soon we will be celebrating all our blessings with a Thanksgiving feast, then preparing ourselves during Advent for the grand feast day of Christmas. With the season comes all the feelings of good will and anticipation, gratitude and love. Indeed, it is a most wonderful time of the year.

But not for all.

For some, the approaching holidays anticipate feelings of loneliness. Separated from loved ones by distance or death, they feel empty inside. Those who have been placed in nursing homes and forgotten long for the days gone by when the celebrations included them.

Others feel financial burdens because they are not able them to give to others, especially their children, as they wish they could. There are those who work hard to make everyday ends meet, and the build-up of Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas gift-giving only makes their struggle more intense and seemingly hopeless.

Times of hardship and trials befall some – serious illness, complications in pregnancy, relationship issues, whatever it may be. Most likely we have a friend, family member or neighbor who feels as if they are visiting Calvary instead of Bethlehem.

Then there are people who cannot tell why they feel down at the holidays. Like something unseen in the air, they just cannot seem to avoid it.

Do not forget those who struggle during this time of year.

If you know someone who has had a loved one die recently or who is separated from family, visit them or invite them to your home. Visit a nursing home and give out Christmas cards. Such small gestures can really light up a person’s day even brighter than the Rockefeller Square Christmas Tree. Is there someone you know going through hard times? Share some holiday goodies and cheer with them. Do not assume someone else will.

Many churches and schools collect food and gifts for the financially-burdened in the community. Be sure to give what you can. If you know a family who is struggling, be their St. Nicolas. Lighten the burden.

Most of all, pray for those who feel depressed during this time when the Love and Peace of Christ should be in our midst. Beg God to touch them. And when I say pray for them, I really mean pray for them. When going through depression, it is very difficult to pray. So we need to pray for those who are experiencing this difficulty.

For them, perhaps you could say:

Lord, Jesus Christ,
I am in darkness; bring me your Light.
I am in depression; bring me your hope.
I am in fear; bring me your strength.
I am in doubt; bring me your faith.
I am in confusion; bring me your wisdom.
I am in sadness; bring me your comfort.
I am tired of fighting; bring me your peace.
I feel self-hatred; renew my dignity.
I feel despondent; renew the joy.
I feel alone; renew our friendship.
I feel nothing; let me feel your love.
I am broken; make me whole again.
I ask this through your Name, Jesus, which brings love and peace to the world and to me. Amen.

Do you have any suggestions of how to help spread holiday cheer to those who may be most in need of it? Please share.

Copyright 2015 Kelly Guest.


About Author

God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at


  1. Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection and prayer. This Christmas will be our second without our beloved 12 year old son, who passed away unexpectedly in October 2014. The holidays are HARD for so many folks, and sometimes it feels like there is no escape, starting even before Halloween now. Christmas commercials and decorations abound, and for many people are just a reminder of what they don’t have, what they’ve lost, who they’re missing. That’s not meant to suck the joy from anyone else’s holiday, whatsoever. I want the joy, even the artificial joy, that surrounds me. My family depends on the prayers of others to carry us on the hardest days, and I’m grateful we’re remembered. I’m very grateful, and that’s the place where I abide this season.

    • Dawn, I will remember you and your family by name in my prayers throughout the Thanks giving and Christmas holidays. God bless you with peace, love and joy this year.

  2. Thank you Kelly for sharing your encouraging words and thoughts. My family will pray for your family and for all who struggle to find joy in this season of Thanksgiving, Advent and the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus. May we all look to Jesus for peace and joy. You have reminded me of one of my favorite scripture versus “Encourage each other daily while it is still today” Hebrews 3:13
    Your Brother in Christ

  3. Thank you for these words. As someone who works with one foot in one Liturgical Season with an eye on another one, or one school year and the next, I appreciated the space you open up with the gateway of November. True enough, for us Catholics, we have ALL SAINTS and ALL SOULS to open up and stir such feelings and connections, some resolved, some not. But as you so rightly point out, even the rest of the “secular” world with its Thanksgiving and end of year Holiday Feasts is thrown into this turmoil.
    Just today, I heard on NPR that tonight is the Feast of Diwali. I first learned about this feast in more depth a handful of years ago when my daughter was still in Montessori school. The explanation, celebration, food, arts and crafts she participated in, brought home and shared with us far exceeded the brief description given on the radio.
    And yet, with all that is going on in the world and in ourselves, the simplest explanation seemed the best for where I was. It is Diwali. Candles will be lit as Light and Good defeats darkness and evil. And we will celebrate with food.
    Trying my best to life simplicity intentionally.
    But it is always good to remember others for where the simplest gesture is to be empathetic.

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