"But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn't put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
The Advent season is the build-up to Christmas. For some, the season is bright and jolly, filled with images of snowmen and presents. But for others, the season may not be such a happy time. People could be having an unusually hard Christmas. For example, it may be the first Christmas without a loved one. A family could be facing homelessness during the holidays. For some of the people, this time of year is always difficult in one way or another. For example, the holiday season has the longest nights of the year, and these longer nights can lead to a psychological condition known as Seasonal Affect Disorder, which can cause people to seasonal depression. I was raised in a home where the holidays where affected by my dad's struggle with depression, and the stress of family expectations and the darkness increasing his feelings of melancholy.
As we face someone in any of these situations, we should be sensitive to their struggling. We don't want to forget or ignore them in our holiday cheer. It is important to remember among all of the holiday bustle to be a supportive beacon of Hope. People can see Jesus through our love. Sometimes all it can take is a smile. Remember to let the light of Christ shine through your actions and words.
Prayer: Lord, let us be a beacon of Hope in the world and bring comfort to those in need, especially as we prepare to welcome the gift of your son. Amen.