While we all want to believe this is true, it really isn't the most wonderful time of the year for some. Yes, everyone's heart seems to be a bit lighter and most days, there seems to be a general happiness in the air. However, if you look into the faces of those you see while out and about, you won't see alot of happiness there. Sadness and despair cloud the eyes of many.
The other night, while picking up a few things at the store, an incident took place that I'm still unable to get out of my mind. My husband and I were going through the aisles selecting what we needed. I saw a man who looked a bit scruffy and dirty, as if he just got off work, not from the cushy desk job but from a job where he gets dirty on a regular basis. With him was a little girl who appeared to be about 4 years old. Instead of placing things in his hand-held basket, he was putting food items back on the shelf. Now there were very few items in his basket to begin with, some tuna, crackers, etc., so putting things back on the shelf told me funds were very limited. He looked up and saw me watching him. Our eyes met for a brief second. What I saw in his eyes was not happiness, but a haunting sadness and probably a little bit of embarrassment. As we made our way to the front to pay for our items, he was in line in front of us. After paying, he grabbed his bag and headed for the door. While the cashier was totaling up his purchase, his daughter had been admiring one of the dolls in the special Christmas display at the front of the store. She would reach out to touch it and then pull her little hand back. She would look around, reach out to touch it again and pull her hand back. She did this several times. As they were leaving, she told her dad she wanted the doll. He told her she couldn't have it that maybe "Santy Claus" would bring it to her. The cashier rang us up, we paid for our items and left the store. When we got outside I looked around for them, but didn't see them. They were gone and so was my opportunity to help someone. I wanted to buy that doll and give it to him to give to his daughter for Christmas. I also wanted to buy some additional food for them. I knew there was no way he could afford the doll, even though it wasn't very expensive. When someone is putting necessities, like food, back on the shelf because they can't pay for it, you know luxury items, such as toys for Christmas, won't be purchased. I cried on the way home and have been crying off and on for days about their situation.
The holidays are not always happy times for people. Statistics show that suicide rates increase during the holidays. Financial burdens become heavier because of the pressure to buy extras when there is no money to buy the necessities. The economy has not rebounded as quickly as hoped or anticipated and those without jobs or a regular income are barely scraping by. Some are no longer able to battle the mortgage companies for their homes and are finding themselves homeless for the holidays. Many are depressed because loved ones have passed on and are no longer around to share what used to be joyous occasions. Others have lost all hope.
While there are many movies I enjoy watching over the Christmas holidays, I always watch one in particular to remind me that not all holidays are happy and that I can make a difference if I look around. One Magic Christmas is about a woman who is tired of all the hassle and haggle of the holidays. Her life is chaotic and stressed. Her husband lost his job and they are forced to move out of the company home in which they live. But she is given an opportunity to see how things could be different, for her and for others, when she takes the time to reach out to someone else in need.
If you see someone in need take a moment and reach out to them. That moment may be the one that saves them from making a drastic decision.
I'm just sayin',