Have you ever lost someone dear to you?

The image above is a famous painting that is called "Repose on the Flight to Egypt". It is a hauntingly beautiful painting that perfectly typifies to me the hardship that Mary and Joseph endured in order to keep their newborn son, Jesus, safe from Herod.  The angel told them to flee into Egypt until Herod was dead. Can you imagine having to pick up and leave everything and everyone you know on such short notice? There were no Motel 6's or Holiday Inn's on the way there, nothing to ease their journey. Jesus was born into the harshest and most helpless of circumstances in order to set us free.

Christmas can be a season of joy but for many it only brings intense pain and regret. Many people I know have lost spouses, parents and friends this past year. For them, the pain of loss just becomes more intense during the holidays.

Have you ever lost someone dear/close to you? I have. When I was 22 I lost my first love, Barry, to a brain aneurysm in late November.

My dear friend, Vicki - lost her husband Henry who is featured in the first story of my book Make a Wish last January and this will be her first Christmas without him. She often posts how much she misses him and there is nothing I can say or do to comfort her.

A friend of mine whose daughter used to play with mine when they were little died last summer from lung cancer, leaving behind a husband and two grieving daughters.

A friend I know through social media lost her beloved husband in what can only be described as medical malpractice this past year.

Although all the people I have mentioned above are believers and have hope that they will all see their loved ones again in heaven, it doesn't take away the grief, pain and loneliness. I'm sure their family members and friends do all they can to involve them and keep them busy but there will come a time, perhaps late at night on Christmas Eve, when they will be grieving all alone.  Do you know anyone like this? Have you given any thought as to how you might help this time of year? Perhaps invite them over for dinner Christmas Eve or to a church service? Include them as extended family in your celebrations?

Tell me about the people in your lives who have gone through a heart-breaking loss of a loved one. I would love to hear all about it.