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Joy and sorrow at Christmas

I was having one of my sleepless nights the other night. As I laid there willing myself to fall asleep, I started thinking about Christmas and the many blessings we have to celebrate this year. One of my first thoughts were of our new grandchildren but I also thought about all our family members, friends, extended family and the daily gifts we receive.

In the dark of night, thoughts don't always stay with the good and positive. I soon started thinking about some of the sorrow that also surrounds the holidays. I thought about how much I will miss my parents yet again this year and about the last Christmases I was able to spend with them, especially my mom.

On that last Christmas, my mom was confined to the hospital. It had to be so difficult for her to lay in that hospital bed as her family gathered to observe the holiday. We took turns on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day going to visit her but were not able to all gather together with her.

As a family, we had one comfort, however, in that mom told us how special the staff at the hospital and others made her holiday. She received numerous special gifts and lots of visits from carolers. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, people she did not know would stop and visit and share stories with her. The nurses, doctors and other staff working those days were filled with joyful messages for the patients.

It was also similar for my dad, who spent many Christmases in the nursing home. Strangers along with friends stopped to visit, sang in the hallways and delivered precious gifts. He so looked forward to the holidays, just so he could see people he didn't get to see during the year.

This made me think not only about the many people in hospitals and nursing homes over the holidays but also those who will no longer be with us this Christmas. Their families will have a missing piece in their holiday this year which will never be filled completely.

If you see someone who lost a loved one this year give them an extra hug, and if you know someone who makes the holidays brighter for the sick and infirmed, say thank you.

Even though on the outside we may be celebrating the joy of Christmas, the sorrow of missing those we love remains in our hearts. I hope your Christmas is filled with lots of joy even as we keep our sorrows in check.