Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. The pressure is on to be happy, merry, and bright. Shiny happy people all lined up in front of a sparkling Christmas tree.

One of my sisters-in-law is coping with the reality of a mother suddenly hospitalized with lots of pain and talk of major surgery. Another sister-in-law is preparing for her recovering-from-a-stroke mother to move into her home and change the fabric of their family. One of my employees is preparing to bury his father this Christmas season, and hopes that his brother will make it to the New Year. An old friend, on top of having a way-too-young husband in a care home because of MS, has been off work for a year because of thyroid problems and major depression.

Happy and Merry probably won’t be in their vocabulary this Christmas.

None of these are really my sadnesses to bear, and yet I feel a little heavy this morning. I’m looking for an alternative greeting for “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. Maybe just “peace”.

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