Matthew 5:4 states, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” A companion scripture can be found in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 18:9. Alma, a newly converted prophet, on the run from his former king, visited an area called the Waters of Mormon with his people, and sought to explain to his people what they needed to be willing to do to enter into the waters of baptism:

“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.”

This scripture came to my mind as I stood at the grave site with a dear friend of mine as she buried her daughter. Only a few years prior I had served alongside this sister as a counselor in our local Relief Society presidency. In the cemetery on that cold February day, I was so profoundly grateful for my testimony of the gospel and my deep friendship with this sister as I stood with her along with the other members of our presidency. I reflected that it had also only been a short time since those same sisters were comforting me as I navigated the end of my marriage and eventual divorce.

At some point in each of our lives we will be both the mourner and the comforter. Each role serves an essential function in teaching us about the atonement of Jesus Christ. It has always been through my deepest trials that I have come to learn and understand the love the Lord has for me. That love has not only come in the form of peace received though the spirit, but also through the kindness and caring of those around me.

Often when we think of mourning we associate that mourning with death. But mourning takes on many forms. We mourn for our good health if our health is poor. We mourn for our children who make decisions that will not lead to happiness. We mourn for job opportunities that pass us by. We mourn for friendships lost. We mourn for the unfulfilled expectations we had for life. The Christmas season can be especially difficult for many people who feel lonely or aimless.

As you turn your focus to Christ this Christmas look around for those who are struggling, and do something to comfort them. It may be as simple as a note in the mail, a message on Facebook, a text letting them know you care, or you can bring a cup of hot chocolate and sit and visit, and above all, LISTEN. Often individuals who are mourning do not need or want advice they just want to be heard and understood. A good listening hear can do wonders in comforting a struggling soul.

Below is a video featuring famed LDS pianist and member of The Piano Guys, Jon Schmidt. Jon and his wife, Michelle, dealt with unexpected loss in October 2016, when their daughter, Annie, was killed while hiking. Watch their story of mourning and healing below.