This year, it doesn't feel like Christmas to me. The month of December rushed by too quickly, taken over by work and other things. 

The weather hasn't helped. Gray, cloudy days have hidden the Sun from us for weeks, making the short days of December seem even worse. There's no snow on the ground except a few plowed piles of slush from that one storm we had earlier.

But the main reason it doesn't feel like Christmas to me is that I'm missing my Mother. She passed away several years ago and Christmas just isn't the same for me since then. For years I bought her gifts for her, conferring with her on which grandchild would like what type of gift. Then buying the gift and delivering it. I'd get her tree out for her and help with decorating. And of course the groceries for the holiday meal. stuffing the turkey while she drank her tea and commented on how she would do it a bit differently. Family. Even though I'm long married and have my own home in Williamsport, she was the center of Family to me. The empty spot left vacant by her absence is dark and silent.

I usually don't decorate for the season here at my home. My husband, Lou, is blind, so what's the use of putting up a tree and trimmings? We have no children, so the joy of seeing little ones Christmas morning is also missing.

These things together this year have teamed up so it doesn't feel like Christmas to me. Until I think of Jesus. The incredible story of the most powerful being in the universe allowing a bit of himself to become a helpless baby. Instead of being born in a palace, he was born in a rented room in the barn to young, poor people. It is a story we wouldn't choose to write because it is too unbelievable. And to think He did it for us who do not deserve a second thought. 

I gave a friend a ride earlier this week, and felt a bit of Christmas. She wanted a ride to the Salvation Army to pick up a box of food items for her holiday meal. Even though there were stories earlier that this holiday charity event would not take place, it happened. And there it felt like Christmas. The volunteers at the Salvation Army didn't know the people who were coming for the food, yet they were bringing a bag of potatos, and a frozen turkey and bread for stuffing. I saw my friend react to the gifts and I felt Christmas again. And I think of Jesus and the people who serve Him in life, to the benefit of their fellow man.

If you are missing Christmas this year, for whatever reason. Stop in at a Church and listen to the hymns. Share the peace with someone sitting next to you and know that there is hope among loss. Light in the darkness and a reason to keep going. 

If the burden is too big, share it with someone who cares. Seek medical help for depression. There may be many better days ahead.