Written by Bob Breen, Executive Director
Christmas has always been a time of joy for many. It is a time for getting together with friends and family, some of whom we may not have seen for a long time. For those who are alone, it can be a time of sadness as they deeply miss those times when there were people around with whom they could share the joys of Christmas. This year will be a particularly difficult one for all those who are alone in their homes and not able to spend time with loved ones. The difference this year is that even those who have family that they would normally be with, are not able to do so because of the restrictions of COVID.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus responds to a lawyer who asks “who is my neighbour?” Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan. As we read that parable, we see that our “neighbour” is not just those who are close to us or who we have known. It is our fellow humans who are in need. We don’t need to look far to see those who may be in need during these times. And while the parable speaks of a traveller who was physically hurt and in need of physical care, need can take many forms. In our Spiritual Care Training that we will launch in January, we will focus on the spiritual needs that are so important to us all, but in particular to those who are isolated and alone. Their loneliness can lead to feelings of despair and loss of their personal sense of value and dignity. This is where we can all help.
If you know of someone who is alone, reach out with a phone call, give a gift of kindness by showing that you know they are alone and that you are thinking of them. Maybe offer to pick up some groceries for them if it is someone in your parish or neighbourhood. Or perhaps, set up a call on Christmas day. If you aren’t sure what to say, ask them to tell a story about what they used to love doing on Christmas or maybe their favourite pastime. Listen carefully. There will be gems in the story that you can use to learn about them and that may lead to other discussions. You will be showing them that you care and that they are important. Plan for a call another day. You will be surprised how much calls like this will mean to them. This will be your gift. And I promise that giving this gift will lift your spirits as much as those to whom you give it.