My letter to the Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Saturday 20th December 2014.
Beautifully decorated buntings, colourful lights, greeting cards expressing messages of goodwill, and turkey dinners with family and friends are some of the joys of Christmas that many can look forward to.
But for some people who have lost their loved ones, or whose loved ones are grappling with life-threatening illnesses or mental illness, Christmas can be a time of sorrow.
Even as Christmas carols are aired on radio and in shopping malls, it can literally be a "silent night" for them.
Christmas can be a joy for these people if love is offered in small ways. The true meaning of Christmas can be summed up in one word: love.
For some people, Christmas means basking in the warmth and love of their families. For others, Christmas means showing love for others.
They can do this by taking the lonely and depressed out for a simple meal, visiting them in a show of neighbourliness, or simply calling them to extend good wishes.
With such simple and thoughtful gestures, Christmas can be a time of healing and renewed strength.
Raymond Anthony Fernando