The holiday season is not universally a joyous time for everyone, as many families are fractured, memories of loss are triggered and hopeful expectations often end in disappointment. Like myself and many of those I know and love, this has been an exceptionally difficult year filled with liberal doses of stress, sadness, and disappointment for a myriad of varied reasons. Perhaps you or your loved ones also experienced 2014 as that kind of year.
When feeling exceptionally alone or lost in life, it’s helpful to remind ourselves that struggle is an inevitable part of human existence and to care for our own and each other’s tender hearts as much as we are able. To be sure, there are greater and lesser struggles, but nobody is exempt from struggle. True peace and joy are often born out of life’s inevitable messiness, not in isolation from it. Confusion, frustration, and suffering are often the seeds for new opportunity and growth.
2014 is almost over and the new year is rapidly approaching. Rather than despairing over the disappointments of 2014, let us positively focus on what we can do to make 2015 better for ourselves and for others. At this time of the year, how much better to contemplate the Christ Child who came into this very broken world and changed it forever! And, while this year’s holiday celebrations may include elements of sadness for many of us, we are amazingly blessed by the incredible gift of God’s love. My new year prayer is for each and every one to personally experience this awesome blessing!