This Christmas especially I am thinking about friends and family who are spending Christmas without their better half - perhaps for the first time. And other friends whose better half is victim to dementia and in that twilight world of not being really present but not being absent either.
Some have the bittersweet experience of happy memories of past years. Some have the assurance of a better eternity to come, reunited with their loved one at Jesus' feet.
For all of them Christmas brings pleasure and pain, warmth and a chill, smiles and hidden tears.
For us all Christmas demands patience and understanding, as well as cheer and festivity.