Hmmm… nearing December, that time of year again. You know “Jack Frost nipping at your nose”, and “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year”…. not so if you are incarcerated. Statistics speak profoundly about this time of year as far as North Americans are concerned. Christmas, the time when North Americans celebrate the birth of the Christ Child by buying presents and visiting family and friends, the wonderful Christmas dinners can also fuel serious depression for many.
Sadly there are other disturbing facts regarding this particular season. This is when separation anxieties in families trigger the deepest of sadness and desperation, unconsolable grief punctuated by suicide rates, with domestic violence soaring this time of year, and many would sooner die than face the sadness. How ironic that such a momentous event as the birth of the Christ Child, that has inspired song writers to pen “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” would also bolster such disturbing statistics.
So where grief, sorrow, and the fear of being forgotten, become the harbingers of Christmas this is where Prison Christian Ministries and the entire army of prison ministries have their work cut out for them. We tirelessly go from institution to institution encouraging and letting inmates and their families know they have not been forgotten. We bring the “Tidings of Great Joy”, we preach, sing, then sometimes all we can do is sit and listen and just be there. Whatever the need we go, regardless of the situation, just to encourage and be a blessing.