Sharing Comfort And Joy

There is no joy in Christmas for some of our friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors. None at all.

For some, the day is a reminder of loved ones lost. There is too much pain in remembering years of placing cherished ornaments on Christmas trees in company with departed spouses. Opening presents reminds them of children taken away too soon.

For others, emotional turmoil makes Christmas a time of trial, not of celebration. It is a season to struggle through, not to revel in.

For too many among us, it is just another day of planning ahead to keep the withdrawal of addiction at bay.

We do a very good job of helping the financially needy during the holidays. We take children whose parents have no paychecks to spend at the toy store under our wings. We do what we can to ensure families who have to worry about what can be obtained with food stamps enjoy bountiful Christmas dinners.

We — and yes, I do feel a bit hypocritical here — don’t do so well with those whose poverty is of the mind, not the wallet.

I had planned to write a Christmas Eve column filled with delightful memories of holidays past. That would have been easy and enjoyable. With any luck, it would have made for pleasant reading.

But someone I heard about last week, as I was busy wrapping up my plans for Christmas, changed that. It reminded me that money isn’t everything, even when it is given to help others during the holidays.

All around us, perhaps closer than you realize, are people who need another kind of help at Christmas. The warmth of the season most of us take for granted just isn’t there for them.

The inner peace Christians feel in the thought of what Christmas means is pushed aside by gloom that can be caused by any number of things. A loved one in the hospital can do it. A broken family can make Christmas a tightrope walk. Loss of a job can empty the spirit as well as the bank account.

It’s easy to give money to help the needy at this time of year. Finding a way to play Santa Claus for someone who “needs a little Christmas” can be more difficult. Saying the wrong thing while meaning well happens all too often.

But we can try, perhaps with a shoulder on which to cry, a reprieve from loneliness or just a sincere offer to help however we can.

It’s Christmas, folks. Surely there’s a way to bring comfort and joy to someone who needs it.

Myer can be reached at: