The holiday season is now in full swing. Christmas music is on nearly every radio station 24/7, and the TV shows are all decked out in holiday colors. The children are all giddy with ideas of what Santa will bring them on Christmas day. Pumpkin spice is flowing from the coffee shops, and stoves are starting to simmer with the smells of Christmas fudge, candy and all the great foods of the season.

While these things will bring joy and happiness to many, for others this season brings on depression, fear and anxiety, along with dread and hopelessness. You may be asking yourself how Santa is going to provide all the children with what they want. Will they enjoy another pair of shoes instead of the new video game or doll that they asked for? Not to mention those dealing with the loss of a loved one that will not be at the table for the first time in their lives. As we wonder each day about these things, our minds can lead us down into the deep hole of fear and depression.

In my life, I have experienced many if not all of these thoughts and emotions. The grace and love of our Father is more than enough to get us through the paths that our sinful minds will lead us down. God will lead us down paths and roads that we do not want to follow in order to create in us what he designed us to be.

I remember sitting on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan pulling overwatch for a diplomatic mission, being cold, tired and wet, missing the comforts of home and the warmth of family and friends. So in missing these things and seeing what it could be, or worse, it is important to remember the true reason for the season, which is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In this time, that should be so joyous because we as the Church must pass on the hope and the good word and to those who may be having a hard time finding it this season. Remember as we search for the light there is only one that we should be searching for:

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
— Matthew 1:21

So as we move into the season of joy and thankfulness for the birth of our Lord, just know that some are having a hard time finding the light in the storm. In all that we do in honor to Jesus, may we be the path that leads to the light of grace, peace and open arms to those who need to remember what true love feels like.