Mary lost her mother and her very best friend early this December. Just the thought of Christmas brought tears to her eyes.
Glen will be alone on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He saw his kids a couple of weeks ago. Maybe, he'll clean his office or work on his motorcycle - just to keep busy.
Pat lost her husband over 14 years ago. Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but at Christmas-time, it's still hurts. It's a pain that just doesn't go away.
Fred's son and grandson lost their jobs on the very same day. How are they going to pay their bills? In this economy, how are they going to find new jobs?
Nancy, a 59 year-old Kindergarten teacher in the Chicago suburbs, was told on December 10th that she has pancreatic cancer. That is certainly not the type of Christmas present she ever wanted.
Tammy is still languishing in prison for a crime she committed 21 years ago. Her family lives many hours away and she expects to spend the holidays alone.
At Christmas-time, we can't see the pain and suffering that's all around us. We can't hear the hushed cries of the heart. We can't feel their loneliness. Bankruptcy, foreclosures, lay-offs, pay-cuts, illness, death seem dim and barely noticeable under the bright and festive holiday lights.
There really isn't much that most of us can do to ease the pain of family, friends or neighbors who are suffering at this time of the year, but perhaps, we can pick up the phone, mail a card, send an e-mail or give a big hug. We can let them know that they are not alone; that we care. In these difficult times, it helps to have the support of loved ones and friends.