It’s the most wonderful time of year. (Thank you Andy Williams)
And it’s true.
For most, this is a time of joy. The birth of Christ is one of the biggest and joyous celebrations that our church has.
But with great power, comes great responsibility.
This time of happiness can often lead to more in sadness and depression.
For those experiencing that pang of loneliness, it tears into the heart. No matter how hard you try, you aren’t good enough for the life you’re living.
Last year I worked for FOCUS Pittsburgh, an Orthodox non-profit helping those in need attain and maintain a better life. During this holiday season, the clients (as well as our staff) felt the strain of the holiday season.
Money was always short. Crime went up. The homicide and suicide rates even went up.
There was a certain tense air surrounding us during this time.
As someone who gets the annual strain of holiday depression, I related with the people next to me more than usual.
There was one solution to the loneliness and emptiness: community.
For that reason, parishes in the area came through to be with those in need. A Roman Catholic parish came in for their annual coat drive, bringing dozens of families. Every Wednesday, a different local Orthodox parish would come and serve a meal.
A plate of food carried a conversation about past Christmases. A walk up the stairs was a chance to encourage each other to get through the holiday season.
Community is a physical representation of the love of Christ. It’s a real tangible thing, being around people who care, love and find happiness in this unity.
Being with those you love (and you know love you back) is what most of us tend to do each holiday season.
But there is nothing more powerful and strengthening than sitting next to a total stranger and breaking bread together. Nothing.
It just serves as a reminder that Christ loves us. He always has, and he always will. If we genuinely believe that he does, why do we close our doors to our brother who knocks?