Day 11 of Advent: Offer Comfort Generously

“Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15

Christmas might not be the “most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. Many people struggle through the holidays with much sadness due to loss, broken relationships, sickness or life changes.

The winter solstice falls within Advent on December 21. This is the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest period of darkness. For many, this is a time to reflect on the year and find hope in what is to come.

God never promises that we will be happy all of the time, but God does promise to be with us and love us, no matter what. All of us feel down sometimes. God invites us to surround each other with support and love, empathy and compassion. When our loved ones feel happy, we are happy, too. When they feel frustrated and full of sadness, we are frustrated and sad, too. God’s love is unconditional—it comes to us no matter how we feel or what we do or don’t do. God gives love freely, to all, expecting nothing in return.

Gather in the dark around a lit candle to answer these questions together:

  • Do you know any people that might feel sad this Christmas? Make a list and pray for them by name.
  • Share about a time when you felt blue. What helped you feel better?
  • How can we comfort those who are feeling low this Christmas season?

We often feel blue when we can’t be together with our loved ones during the holidays. Use a smart phone or tablet to record a video greeting for family or friends you won’t see this Christmas. Sing carols, play songs on instruments, give a detailed review of your Christmas tree, take turns in the spotlight, share family news. Surprise them with a copy of this unique greeting in their email inbox, on social media or via text message.

Create luminaries from paper lunch bags and give them to those who may be having a blue Christmas. Encourage them to write their worries and fears on the bag and light the candle inside as a reminder of the light that comes to the world in Baby Jesus. Brighter days are coming!

 This blog post is Day 11 of Spirit of Christmas: Advent Family Devotions. To sign up to receive these daily devotions in your inbox from now through Christmas Day, click here: http://info.sparkhouse.org/advent