My dad’s favorite Christmas carol was “Home for the holidays.” I think, having been raised in Pennsylvania, he loved the lyrics about the man heading home to that state for some “homemade pumpkin pie”!
But there are individuals who will not be home for the holidays this year, because they are hospitalized or in a care facility. For them, the holidays can be lonely and sad, especially if they are facing a serious health crisis.
“Loneliness, even when surrounded by many caregivers, can be quite a problem, often accompanied by despair,” said Rev. Kevin Massey, Vice President of Mission and Spiritual Care at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, when he spoke to me.
Following a current worldwide trend, Massey spoke of the importance of spiritual care teams. These teams are comprised of clergy and lay people willing to meet the spiritual, as well as the physical needs of those hospitalized.
Research is continually showing that praying with others and showing compassion and love, not only helps individuals overcome their loneliness, but also improves their health.
Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy emphasized the healing power of this time of year when she wrote, “Christmas represents Christ too much to submerge itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony, in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting, – in the truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves mankind.”
We all have the ability to overcome loneliness, to feel loved and be well. It stems from our innate spirituality – our connection with the Divine. “Everyone has a spiritual perspective,” Massey remarked, “We all have value as a child of God.”
Taking this further, Massey remarked, “We can make every place a place of healing. Gratitude is a way to bring healing into our lives no matter where we are, but especially when facing a health crisis.”
Gratitude and connecting with God doesn’t leave us comforted but still stuck with a serious diagnosis. It can actually heal us. Jesus expressed gratitude often just before he did some of his most profound healing work, including just before he raised Lazarus from death.
No matter where you are this holiday season, rely on your spirituality – your connection with the Divine – and express gratitude. It can counteract loneliness and actually heal you.