It's that time of year again. I can already feel the stress mounting as the year winds to a close and the holiday season approaches.
The GOOD news is that even in this contentious election year, there is a sense of relief that it will soon be over. People will once again be able to have polite conversations without fear of stepping on someone's political toes. I am confident that we will return to a sense of good will toward others. We will smile and wish each other holiday greetings. We will feel triumphant when we find the perfect gift for someone we love. We will delight in the wonder of the season as we see it through a child's eyes.
The BAD news is that the world is still filled with too much sadness and suffering. There are still children who will not receive a present. There are families who will not have shelter or food. There will be missing places at the holiday table for loved ones who have passed on. Charity donations increase during the holidays, but it is only a temporary fix -- a band aid to a much larger problem.
The UGLY news is that, for some, the stress of the season will prove to great to bear. The tingle and lilt of holiday music is a constant reminder of their shortcomings. Suicide and divorce rates tend to increase during the holidays. Some will escape into binge drinking or drugs in the hopes that when they sober up, the world will have returned to some semblance of normal. Mental health facilities cannot hope to cope with the vast amount of those needing help. Some may never come forward until it is too late.
My wish for you is that everything that is GOOD about the season is magnified ten-fold, and that there is enough good will in your heart to carry you through in the months after the decorations are gone and the presents are put away. Be mindful of the BAD and the UGLY and continue to look for ways to reduce the stress of the season for those who struggle. Reach out with the hand of fellowship to those less fortunate-- not just during the holidays, but everyday.
Wanda DeHaven Pyle is the author of Windborne, The Stone House Legacy and The Steel Canyon Legacy. Her books are available on Amazon and Kindle at http://amazon.com/author/wandapyle