Years ago, during my sophomore year at Cal State San Bernardino, I found myself in a difficult situation at Christmas break. I had nowhere to go. Both of my parents had died, and I wasn’t able to stay with my siblings or friends. I had to request special permission to spend the holiday on the deserted campus. For two weeks, my friends enjoyed roaring fireplaces and dinner tables full of turkey, ham, and all the trimmings. Meanwhile, I sat in my cold dorm room alone, eating whatever was left in the vending machines. I was miserable.
When I think back on that time, I remember that my story isn’t unique. Many people face a similar problem this Christmas. They may not be alone in a college dorm, but they feel just as lonely and isolated. Studies show that depression rates are at their highest this time of year. It’s no wonder why. The Christmas season is filled with joy, celebration, and family get togethers. All of which highlights loss and sadness when a loved one has died or unresolved conflict has driven a wedge between members of a family.
Love and connection are as vital to our well-being as the air we breathe, especially at Christmas. If you’re blessed with family, reach out to someone who’s not. Can you give them a call? Can you invite them over for dinner? Christmas can feel awfully dark when you’re alone. Make it brighter for someone by giving them the gift of community.