It is well known that the holidays, while a time of great joy for many are a time of deep despair for those suffering from depression and loss.  It is sadly a time marked with a large number of suicides.  In fact, someone within my circle of friends tragically took their life recently.

The real meaning of Christmas is not gifts and family gatherings, trees or decorations. It is a celebration of hope.  As the prophet Isaiah writes:

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

This Christmas, remember those still “living in the land of deep darkness.”  25 million Americans suffer from depression.  Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death and the second leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 10 and 34 years in the United States last year. More than half of those taking their life suffered from depression.

Chances are you know someone battling depression or contemplating taking their life.  Reach out to them. Let them know you care. Let them know that where there is life, there is hope.  Christmas symbolizes that hope. Selfless giving is the real meaning of Christmas. This year, reflect that great light that dawned long ago in the village of Bethlehem.