Billboard magazine ranks Andy Williams’ “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time, but according to the Rev. Kimble Zornes, who pastors Carpenters House of Prayer in Hillsboro, it can be the most depressing time of the year for some.
He attributes much of the melancholy found during the holidays to how Christmas itself has been commercialized.
“Everybody feels like they’re under pressure to give, and buy and perform,” he said. “I think we need to get back to the true meaning of Christmas and remember that we’re celebrating the birth of a Savior.”
He said based on his study of the Bible, God wants a spirit of peace to be in people’s lives, not the stress that often comes with the holiday season.
“We bring a lot of it on ourselves because we’ve allowed the world to dictate what we focus on,” he said. “Everybody loves getting gifts and the whole Christmas shopping and spending thing, but when that becomes an end unto itself, then I think it’s time to return to what Christmas is really all about.”
Michelle Kessler is the bereavement coordinator at Community Care Hospice in Wilmington, and she said for those that are experiencing their first holiday following the loss of a loved one, the emotions can be overwhelming.
“If we’re not careful, the death of a loved one at this time of year will taint the holidays for years to come,” she said. “It’s important to do something in remembrance of that person, like lighting a candle, placing a special ornament on the tree or sharing memories at a family dinner, and finding a way to honor that person is important so that though we miss them, we allow life to go on.”
She said that in many cases, people have to be given permission to move on with their life.
“People have to know that it’s OK and that life goes on,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that they didn’t love that person or wouldn’t want them back, but the circle of life continues and if we’re really honest with ourselves, we know deep down that they would want to us go on with our lives.”
Going on with life after a tragedy is something that Brenda Losey of Greenfield is well familiar with, since 11 years ago in August her 17-year-old daughter Hannah lost her life in a car crash, just one week after starting her senior year at McClain High School.
“You never really ever get over something like that, but you keep going the best you can,” she said. “You do what you can to make new normals and keep their legacy alive.”
Rather than wallowing in grief, Brenda and her husband John honor their daughter’s memory by hosting Grief Share, a faith-based program designed to help those that have lost loved ones, and also founded an annual scholarship fund for McClain High School students that so far has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships.
Although that first Christmas without their daughter was rough, she said her family felt that when something happens of the magnitude like a death in the family, it’s important to try to “make something good out of it and try to help someone else who might be going through the same thing.”
She said there were more than 1,600 people at the memorial service for her daughter, with a tremendous outpouring of support and sympathy from the community.
“How can you not want to give back when the town and the school is so gracious to you at a time of loss,” she said.
Zornes said that change is the only constant in life, and the only thing anyone owns is the moment at hand.
“Things change,” he said. “I believe that God brings the storms, struggles and losses to our lives because He’s doing something for our future, and we can either moan about how bad things are or we can accept change for what it is, do something about it, and then move on with our lives no matter what time of the year it is.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.