“Tis the season to be jolly,” the well-known Christmas carol tells us. And yet, for all too many people, the Advent and Christmas seasons are far from “jolly” and joy-filled. For some of the men and women who struggle emotionally at this time of year, the sadness may be rooted in the recent death of a family member or close friend — or because the anniversary of a friend or family member’s death occurs during this month. For others, the depression might be rooted in a job loss, or in a serious illness, or in a broken relationship. Or it may simply be because the days are getting shorter and shorter at this time of year.
But regardless of the cause of the sadness, the coronavirus pandemic is almost certain to exacerbate the already difficult situation these souls are facing. Thus, we need to be especially attuned to one another during these days before and after Christmas, as so many of us were attuned to needs of others during the lockdown we experienced at the beginning of the pandemic. A phone call to an elderly neighbor who hasn’t been out of the house since late March; a note of support and hope to a friend who recently lost his or her spouse; a virtual Rosary or Chaplet with friends or family members who need their spirits lifted.
Small but sincere acts of faith and kindness like these are extremely important, especially at a time when isolation has become the norm for many of us, given the need for social distancing. And when performing these charitable deeds, always remember the words of Jesus: “There is more joy in giving than receiving” — which means that these works of charity will benefit us as well, and bring the true joy of the Advent and Christmas seasons more fully into our hearts.