As I wrap the last of the Christmas gifts I've purchased and prepare to bake my traditional Norwegian cookies, I think of all those for whom Christmas is not a happy and peaceful time.
Some people have lost loved ones during this past year. Their Christmases will be difficult this year—and that will leave not only an empty place at the table but a hole in their hearts. Some people have no family or close friends with whom to share Christmas. Still others have family, but there's division and conflict that keeps them separated. And some have just received a devastating medical diagnosis and are still reeling from that.
Many in our country are homeless. Many have no idea from where their next meal will come.
So many situations exist to make Christmas lonely or blue for some people. Some places of worship have "Blue Christmas" services and other types of experiences to recognize those for whom the holidays are not a happy time.
I want to stay sensitive to that myself. Let's all be a little extra patient, kind and forgiving with everyone we meet these days. We don't know what these days might be like for them. A little compassion goes a long way.