The Un-merry Side of Christmas


I awoke this morning with a heavy heart. For some, Christmas isn’t a time of laughter and cheer. Despite what the world portrays on TV commercials, many will not be sitting around a big, bright tree drinking egg nog and unwrapping gifts. Some will spend their day on the street with nowhere to go. Lord willing, some of them might get lucky enough to end up at a homeless shelter where volunteers are providing meals. And it’s not only the homeless I’m talking about.

There are so many people who have lost loved ones and have a difficult time during any holiday season. It’s never easy to lose those we love, whether it be from medical reasons, or evil walking into an elementary school and shooting children. The loss is hard and magnified by those special days when family and friends join together to celebrate. The absence of a special person is glaring when the table is set for a holiday meal.

I know most Christians focus on the birth of Christ as the “reason for the season”, but we still exchange gifts as per the tradition. There’s usually something about Christmas that invokes a tingle of excitement within me. I don’t know if it’s the music, the crisp smell of winter in the air, or the beautiful decorations and lights. I’m just not feeling that this year.

For the last two years, we have volunteered with an inner city youth ministry called One7. For those of you following my blog, you have probably heard about One7. On a daily basis, we see people who are lost, hurting, and have no hope. We do what we can to help, but sometimes it feels like we just can’t do enough. Sometimes, we get a reminder of why we do what we do. Yesterday was one of those times.

We went to the apartment of a family whose children come to One7. There are six of them, ages 14 down to a couple of toddlers. We arrived to find the apartment utterly trashed. Toys, garbage, books, and clothing scattered all over the floor inside and outside as well. The temperature was in the 40′s, and they were running around outside with no shoes or jackets on. Their mom left a while ago, and their dad has been gone on a job for two days. He just left them all alone to fend for themselves.

After talking with the oldest, who just turned 14 on Friday and has to be a mom to her younger siblings, we found out that they have not had any food in the house for several days. I looked in the refrigerator, and it was empty except for a jug of milk. These are kids who come to One7 and run around and play like they don’t have a care in the world. People just don’t know the suffering and pain others are going through.

These are things that completely break my heart and wreck me to the very core of my being. We are to be a light to this world so full of darkness and despair. People don’t need gifts, hot chocolate, and jingle bells.

They need love.

SPACE

Make sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!

Have a blessed day,

Chris



Categories: General, ONE7

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37 replies

  1. Hi Chris,

    Sounds like you are definitely an asset to One7, congratulations and thanks for what you do for the children. I frequent Uptown Charlotte at least once per week but have never heard of One7.

    Thank you for visiting and following my blog, I hope you found something moving. It is so very nice to meet a fellow and local North Carolinian!

    JW

  2. Beautiful message. Peace

  3. I could not agree more. May God bless you and One7.

  4. Chris, your writing is always so thoughtful. I’ve nominated you for an award: http://changeitupediting.com/2013/01/03/i-love-bloggers/

  5. Chris, this post touched my heart. No matter how much we extend love it always seems there are so many left without. Gifts and hot chocolate can be part of it because love comes in so many ways. Let’s go for increase in spreading the Love this year. Happy New Year!

  6. On Christmas I found myself in a situation I never thought would happen. People who took out their frustrations on me were blinded by ignorance. That ignorance hurt an innocent child, who had no voice in the matter. It is sad how it seems to be the innocent that get hurt the most. Love your writing!

  7. Thank you for following my blog.

    May 2013 bring you many blessings !

  8. Bless you for your work with One7. We have similar projects here in the UK, Crisis being one of them. But let’s also think of those in countries where Christians are persecuted, like Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan. We take going to church at Christmas so much for granted that many of those who are normally there on Sundays don’t bother. We must always remember those Christians who, this year, have been actually prevented from attending church this Christmas.

  9. Happy New Year Chris!……..thank you for your support in 2012…….may 2013 be your best year ever as you continue to grow in Christ and seek to walk in His plan and purpose for your life………blessings!……..Kim

  10. It’s these sorts of things that remind you, that for many, Christmas is just another day in a week and sometimes sourly looked upon. A date that has so much meaning and significance to most, cannot be enjoyed due to lack of or no family or loved ones around them, money, possessions and even a home to stay in. God bless x

  11. Christmas is a difficult time for many families and thank you for this reminder. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for following me. Here’s wishing you a happy new year!- S

  12. Thank you for this thoughtful and powerful post. We couldn’t agree more. We are grieving the loss of a baby grandson this Christmas but are comforted by the gift of the Christ child which promised eternal life. Thanks also for checking out our blogging of the children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” We hope you’ll continue to follow the story. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Gayle and Ian Moore-Morrans

  13. As a fellow worker in these trenches, I totally understand the heaviness of heart. May you continue on & bless each family as they come. We are spreading the Light & bringing hope as we choose to love each soul, One by One. Bless you brother! -JK

  14. I deal with the same issue only from a different side. Women who through addiction have lost everything and everyone they love. Even though they are trying to rebuild their lives they have not yet gained the trust of family and friends and spend the holidays regretting their past.

  15. I was on my own over Christmas feeling sorry for myself and your post put that into perspective. I have friends, family, a safe place to live and food to eat. Thank you for reminding me that I am a lucky woman.

  16. I donate to a set number of charities (those I trust) throughout the year and I pray. I can’t let the ugliness that grows ever more prominent in the world stop me from that. We can only stay truly strong in the Lord. We can all do something, and that is how we keep from feeling insignificant & helpless. A blessed new year to you. It sounds like those kids would do better with another family member or foster care.

  17. Wow! I can be so self-centered. But you have a way of opening one’s eyes. I want to help but I feel so impotent. So small. And the problem is so big! How do you handle the extent of this problem without going completely bonkers yourself? There are soooo many people living in such dreadful conditions ~ how do you handle that?
    robin

  18. Thank you for sharing your service to the needy. The greatest gift of all. Let your suffering go to waste for Jesus suffered for us. Merry Christmas

  19. Chris, the only thing any of us can add is these tragedies happen in every city and town and we add to them by turning our heads and pretending not to see. Thank you for the work you do. Thank you for showing us.

    Blessings.

  20. The pain of Christmas lingers deeply with recovering alcoholics. It is a day to touch as many as possible with fellowship; the article is exactly on point, put away jingle bells and open your hearts….God bless you Chris

  21. Dear Chris,

    Shalom, Blessed Merry Christmas : )

    May The good Lord Jesus keep you safe and strong (draw your strength from Him) in your ministry. Continue to rest in Him.

  22. thank you for sharing this with us and for reminding us of what Christmas really is :-)

  23. Wow, Wonderful post, Chris. My father passed away several weeks ago, so I find myself one of those who is feeling loss this year. I can’t imagine what those in Newtown are going through.

    Thank you for the reminder of the essence of Christmas.

  24. Enjoyed it, great point at the end about needing love. Couldn’t agree more!

  25. I’m not Christian and I don’t celebrate Christmas, but have grown to appreciate the holiday and its spirit. After reading your blog I concluded that you are the best Christmas gift Christ would have encouraged us to exchange.

  26. Chris, I know exactly how you feel. Advent for me is a time of great sorrow capped off with the reassurance of Emmanuel, (God with Us) through it all. Holding on to the promise of Emmanuel is the only thing that keeps me going through the darkest times.

  27. Well said. The only thing I’d add is that people need love and help every day of the year. We tend to act more like Christians around Christmas but God and love aren’t limited by the holidays.

  28. So true, Chris. Heartwrenching about the precious chldren you described, and are helping. And so true, too, about all who have lost loved ones, regardless of how much time has passed. You know firsthand. And especially this year, those in Newtown. God bless your loving and giving heart! And thanks for sharing this today.

  29. Glad to know that someone else is also having the same concerns. In my country women are tortured and raped where as I am busy with christmas shopping.

  30. How true these words are Chris. I learned yesterday that a writer friend of mine died in the morning. His wife and children and grandchildren will have their first Christmas without their loved one. My heart goes out to them and to all in a similar position. I’m a recent ‘addition’ to your blog and therefore know little of your work. Over the coming months I hope to learn more. Blessings for your kindness. x

  31. i so agree. God bless you Chris.

    • Great post, Chris! I agree that the situations you described are truly heatbreaking. I pray for, and do what I can to help those in such situations. Prayer is the strongest weapon, and the biggest help that we can give. It is where love is formed. We do not have to degrade Christmas because of these tragic occurances, however. I can only imagine how the holiday season only emphasizes the pain for these people. But that is all the more reason to celebrate the joyous gift of Christ entering the world! Only Christ can free us from our troubles! So, it is during the Christmas season that we ALL should stop to remember Him, who came to us as a tiny Babe, suffered the cold, was born in a stable, had a manger as a crib, all because “There was no room for Him in the inns.” Christ did not abandon us, he suffered for us. We, too, should not abandon Him, nor ignore the joyful day of His birth. God bless you.

Trackbacks

  1. The Un-merry Side of Christmas | Yorkshire Viking
  2. Share-turday: The Un-merry Side of Christmas. Reblogged From Chris Martin Writes. « karlitoweb

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