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Ministering to Those Who Struggle During the Holidays

For many, the holidays — including birthdays and anniversaries as well as the calendar and religious occurrences — can be a time of sadness. The staff at the Bethesda Senior Living Communities across the country work hard to keep the spirits of each community's residents upbeat and hopeful. You can help alleviate the struggles your loved ones go through during the holidays.

Read on to learn more about how you can help.

Be Present

Sometimes, all somebody needs to shake off the holiday blues is the friendly face of a loved one. These times of year bring to mind cherished memories of moments spent with loved ones.

By simply making a point of visiting and spending time reminiscing with your loved ones about holiday traditions and stories, you can relieve much of the loneliness you or they may feel. As David said in Psalm 71:9, "Do not cast me off in the time of old age. Do not forsake me when my strength fails."

Be Supportive

If those around you are struggling with the holidays, it provides the perfect opportunity to become more like Christ. The Lord brought you through your struggles for these moments. Now is your opportunity to bring hope to the hurting, love to the lonely and compassion to the struggling. Remember 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, "[God] comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

To that end, provide comfort to your fellow resident in whatever way helps them the most. Offer a listening ear when they want to talk about holidays past and loved ones who are not present. Provide a shoulder to cry on if that is what they need or a joke to laugh at if it suits them better — or you can invite them to a holiday celebration.

Whatever you do, just reach out and let them know that they are not alone. Sometimes, that is all they need.

Help Them Focus Elsewhere

By taking your eyes off of your earthly concerns and focusing on spiritual ones, your life can be transformed. In 2 Corinthians 1:5, the apostle says, "For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ."

Focusing on the amazing love of Jesus leaves little room for sadness, loneliness and misery. There is no reason to suffer spiritually; remind them of God's love and His promise.

"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10

By reminding them that their memories are a gift to cherish and not a source of pain, that the loved ones who went before them are not gone but just waiting on the other side, and that they are never really alone, you can make all the difference in their holidays. What greater gift could you give than the gift of joy.