7th December 2022

“Are you looking forward to Christmas?” It is what we say to each other at this time of year when making polite conversation. The conventional answer is “Yes” but what if the honest answer is “No!”?

Not for reasons of poverty or because it is all too commercialised, both of which are very real reasons, but for reasons of personal distress.

There are those we know who face a first Christmas after the death of a loved member of their family or circle. There are those whose near family are all living abroad and Facetime, Zoom etc helps but little as they go to a kind neighbour for lunch. There are those separated by war or political conflict.

Less common but worse there are those for whom every year is painful because they have lost someone. ‘Lost’ as in the sense of ‘do not know where someone is’.

Grandparents whose contact with grandchildren has been refused as a result of bitter divorce so that they cannot even send a gift. Siblings separated by family breakdown who would make contact if they could. Divorced parents who even after court order get no contact with their children.

Even sadder, parents whose teenage or young adult child walked out and has never been found after many years. May be alive, may have been killed, may have committed suicide.

It is hard to contemplate with pleasure the feast of the coming of the Christ Child if your mind is full of loss.

Let us remember in prayer any such known to us personally.

Margaret Clements