Artwork: Becca Presley

Christmas ads have literally taken over Facebook, Instagram, and my television. Am I getting old? Is it just me? It’s almost as if the whole holiday season is being shoved down my throat. Easter has always been my favorite holiday. No pressure. No scrambling around.

As a Christian, I won’t/can’t separate myself from the Christmas season. However, it occurred to me that this isn’t always a “holly jolly” time of year for everyone. Can we be joyful about our Savior’s birth and struggle simultaneously? Absolutely.

There are people who are very sick.

There are people who just lost a loved one or facing the prospect of losing a loved one.

There are people struggling financially to provide much less meet society’s expectations of a Christmas morning filled with gifts.

There are people with fractured relationships who are grieving a broken family.

There are people grappling with their faith.

There are people, although close to family, who are physically separated by many miles this season.

There are people with emotional struggles that you will never see.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine. And yourself?”

“Can’t complain.”

It’s a lie. It’s a lie we tell others to save face. It’s a lie we tell ourselves to make it through the day . From an early age, we are taught to grin and bear it. Don’t make anyone uncomfortable. Boys are taught to “man up.” Deal with it.

My daughter and I saw a girl the other day. I said, “How are you?” She said, “Fine.” My daughter mentioned that she knows the girl and the minute she said this, I actually realized who the girl is. I mentioned to her that she needed to be extra kind to this young lady. Her mom is very sick. “Goodness,” I said to my daughter. “This girl is so brave. Always be kind. You don’t know what people are facing in their lives.”

During this season of Black Friday sales, too much food, piles of presents, parties, and all that comes with it, it’s easy to forget what the season it about It’s easy to focus on ourselves. I know because I’m guilty.. Please remember to be kind. Not everyone you meet is fine.

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