The title of this post came from a song by Amy Grant. She wishes for a world where hearts would heal, lives wouldn’t be torn apart, there would be no wars, and everyone would have a friend. These are wishes that could be agreed upon by most of us. They may seem idealistic and too profound for what is a time of festivities, shopping, wonderful lights and decorations, and gifts. Christmas is a time for music that makes us laugh like “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. It is a season of gathering family or friends together and sharing meals, laughter, and family traditions. Many of us take time to remember those who are in need at this time of year by serving at a shelter or buying gifts for an Angel Tree.
For many years I worked on our local Hotline phones and heard many people share things they didn’t want to talk about with family or friends. They felt out of place and alone for being sad or lonely. They missed people who were gone from their lives. They shared their family traditions that often included fighting, abuse, and alcohol and drugs. Some struggled with mental illness that became worse during this time of year.
I empathized with these callers. The holidays are times of very mixed emotions for me as they are for others. I am enjoying Christmas this year. I wanted the music to start even before Thanksgiving much to the dismay of my family and friends. I have had a wonderful time finding gifts and shopping at midnight sales. Sharing this season with the children in my life makes it even more exciting. My grandson asks if every package that comes to the house is his. Almost everyday my friend’s son asks if I know how many more days it is until Christmas.
But I also struggle with old memories. Sounds and smells at this time of year trigger things I don’t want intruding into my mind. Memories of my best friend, my mother, and others who have passed away are strong. They sometimes bring joy and smiles while tears and heartache come as well. I also deal with mental health issues that often peak during this time of year.
News this week of the death of a young mother who overdosed with alcohol and prescription drugs was a grave reminder of the disease of addiction I shared with her. Yesterday the news of a dear friend who is dealing with a devastating life situation and had to be hospitalized for depression and suicidal thoughts broke my heart. I have been in the place where his heart and soul are right now. Tonight I learned of the death of another woman who lost her battle with addictions.
Amy’s grown up Christmas list may seem altruistic for a time of year that has become more about shopping and fighting over what greeting is important. Christmas is time for celebrating the birth of Jesus. I think He would find wishes for a “world where hearts would heal, lives wouldn’t be torn apart, there would be no wars, and everyone would have a friend” an amazing way to celebrate his birth.
Yes, I am going to wrap Christmas presents and spend time with family and friends sharing laughter and fun. I am going to sing Christmas music, watch Elf, The Christmas Story, Polar Express, and go to parties. I will go to my church and worship and remember the birth of Jesus. I can’t make all the wishes on that grown up Christmas come true, but I can remember those who might need an extra smile or some moments of grace this year. I believe I will turn that list into my prayer for this holiday season and the coming year.