When it’s neither, be both

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2019

For many years, there’s been talk of a “war on Christmas.” The memes abound this time of year: “It’s not Happy Holidays! It’s Merry Christmas!” However you choose to greet friends and strangers alike at this most wonderful time of year, and however you choose to respond, remember the reason for the season and act accordingly.

For most of us, the season is both merry and happy. For some people, however, it is neither.

While so many are celebrating, doing last-minute Christmas shopping or welcoming family home for the holidays, there are others who are simply not in a place of celebration. Perhaps they lost a loved one this year. Maybe their family relationships are strained and no longer have close family members to invite home. Some people are struggling with illness, their loved ones sitting by their bedsides. A friend could be suffering from financial problems and is unable to provide in the same way as Christmases of the past. A sibling might be going through marital problems; a parent of a young child dealing with severe behavioral issues. A terminal diagnosis may have been issued and a family is struggling to adjust to a future life without that aunt/uncle/ parent/grandparent in it.

For every person who is full of smiles and joy, there is another for whom smiles and joy are difficult to muster.

This season, make a point to reach out to those who may be struggling. Be a willing listener for those who are suffering. Make a point to be kind to all you encounter — you never know what stresses and struggles they carry.

The argument of whether you should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”— whether it’s merry or happy — can be settled easily: when it’s neither, be both.