By: Abby Elam, BSW

It’s that time of year again, everywhere you look people buying gifts for loved ones, getting engaged, getting married, sharing baby announcements, and posting pictures of beautiful family bliss. It really is such a joyful season. There are twinkling lights everywhere and children are bursting with imagination and anticipation.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years come every year, for some they come with joy and excitement, for others they come with dread and deep pain. Some of you may say “but Christmas is a time for advent, to be expectant on the Lord to do great things!” Yes, that is all true and much more but please do not forget it is also a time of sorrow for many, a time when the ache of loneliness feels like too much to bare and too much to share.

It is a time when those hurting reflect on who will be missing from the table this year. Whether it be missing in mind as age begins to steal away the memories of someone you love, or in body if you laid someone to rest this year or for that strained relationship that you so desperately wish could be reconciled. For others the ache is for the thing you deeply long for and pray for but have not yet experienced. Healing from sickness, homes for the homeless, the love and marriage you have begged God for only to still be single, the baby you have longed to hold in your arms but may never come.

To those of you who find yourself joyfully busy running around hunting for the perfect gift or spending hours creating the cutest family Christmas card, don’t forget to look up. Look up into the eyes of those around you and offer them kindness and grace in this season. Extend comfort for their aching hearts as often as you can. You may never know how much they may need it.

For those of you feeling that deep ache this Christmas season, there are a few things you should know. You are not alone. The Lord sees you and knows your hurt. You are beloved. You have not been forgotten or forsaken. Our Heavenly Father aches for you and with you. Hold on to hope, God sent his son to live and die for us so that someday these tears will be no more. Share your ache with someone; it is not too much to bare.

Abby Elam is our Counseling Center Assistant. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Middle Tennessee State University and has spent the last several years working for different nonprofit organizations and ministries specializing in teens and families. She is currently meeting with pre-teen to young adult women in our Counseling Center as well as working on her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Liberty University. The Joy House Counseling Center exists for the purpose of providing a faith-based option for residents of the Highway 575/ 515 corridor who seek guidance with life’s problems. We have locations in Pickens, Gilmer and Cherokee Counties with fees based on income and ability to pay. We offer counseling services to all ages, from 7 to 70, with professional services to a wide variety of individuals, families and their needs. Contact our Counseling Center via phone at 678-452-2037 for more information.