Aging and the Holidays

This Christmas and Hanukkah season has been a time of reflection for me. My father recently moved into an assisted living environment which was a big life change for him and all of us. It was a difficult decision for him to admit that living independently was no longer safe and that he needed more assistance. Although my father is blessed with family nearby, I am aware more than ever of the need to feel loved and cared for during this special season, especially when one is no longer able to live independently or in a home with other family members. 

The holidays are a time of intentionally sharing our love for one another, reflecting God’s love for all of us, and sharing this light with those around us whether family, work colleagues, friends, or strangers.

Sometimes as we age, we become more isolated as we lose spouses and friends, or we find that those family members closest to us are unable to care for us or live far away. Although Christmas and Hanukkah are a time of togetherness, those without strong family or friend ties often feel isolated. Instead of the warmth and happiness that we hope for at Christmas, sadness can creep into our hearts when we are unable to feel love or closeness from others during this holiday season. 

Let us all consider how we can pay more loving attention to those important to us and to even consider those outside of our family and friend circle. Stating the obvious, that God’s love is not limited to just our own family but embraces every human being equally, let us seek to have God’s vision as we show love to everyone around us during this Christmas season, especially those who are aging, isolated and at risk for loneliness.