It’s the holiday of joy and happiness, but not for everyone. It’s actually one of the few traditions we have where there are nearly as many people unhappy to celebrate this day, as those who are.

God sent His only son to be born on this day, in order to save our souls. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born, and Christians around the globe celebrate in commemorating this day every year. Families and friends gather for wonderful meals, exchange gifts and drink holiday cheer near the fireplace. You might wonder, what would make someone unhappy about celebrating Christmas?

There are millions of lonely and depressed people in our country for a variety of reasons, and the holidays tend to exacerbate those feelings. If you have strained family relationships, this time of year creates more pressure to interact. Many people who have lost a spouse and don’t have relatives close by, fall into depression, especially the elderly. According to an article in Psychology Today, Christmas is the time of year people experience the highest incidence of depression. Sad as it may be, this time of year also has a high incidence of suicide and attempted suicide.

And there’s the pressure to spend money on gifts which many don’t have, causing people to fall further in debt or not pay certain bills. These and many other reasons contribute to the number of Americans formally diagnosed with depression increasing by approximately 20% every year. 

So, how do we as a society help these poor people who are so impacted by this merriest of times? We can start by not getting so “wrapped” up in the commercialization of Christmas.

Let’s remember, Christmas time is for giving. Ask yourself, what are you doing to think of someone in need, someone less fortunate? Perhaps volunteering for a local nonprofit organization for one. Take the time to reach out to a friend or relative who may be all alone for Christmas.

Visit your local Veterans Administration, and bring some holiday cheer, letting them know you appreciate their service. Many homeless people in shelters are veterans, sad as that is. Assist at a local food pantry, or bring a few gifts to an assisted-living facility for the elderly. 

You will not find happiness by buying bigger and better Christmas gifts, or the biggest, most glittering tree. The greatest need in our world today is love. We all crave love and connection. It’s what God wanted and we as humans require from each other.

Take a moment and try to think of someone you know who might be struggling right now. Can you make a difference in their life? Remember, it’s those who give the most love, who most often receive the most love. Be one of those people, and make a difference in someone’s life.

If you’re not one of those people who’s depressed and struggling around this time of the year, stop and realize how blessed you are. Then share that blessing with someone in need.

That’s the true meaning of Christmas.