Christmas is a time for family, friends, memories, faith, the celebration of the love of God, and specifically the birth of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ …..
But for many of us this season carries a great sting. As family and friends get together, people celebrate, they gather around a tree, and sit at the table enjoying big hearty meals, yet, for some, those missing… are felt. Loved ones who are absent, or even worse; those who have endured trauma or abuse during the holiday season, especially in these moments, presses on our hearts and a heightened grief surfaces in our spirits, not to mention the emotional aspect which can be crippling or debilitating ….
To have those we love not with us, either because of death, estrangement, or service, traumas, – each has its own ache. Depending on the situation, the level of grief varies, but all weigh on our hearts and make it difficult to feel joy ….
So for many, the holidays are times that we must simply endure, survive, and get through as we attempt to cloak ourselves with a forced smile – while inside our hearts are indeed crying …..
Yet it is possible, for those of us who are suffering, to find beauty and significance in this season again. This does not mean that we do not grieve that our Christmas will be forever different, or forever rembered; but there is potential that the holidays can be meaningful and different … once more.
It is okay to feel the hurt that plagues our hearts as we miss those we love each day and at every celebration, yet we can also fill our hearts with hope.
Simply be prepared to grieve …
With the absence of loved ones, we should not pretend everything is perfectly normal, and that this year’s festivities are no different than any other year. The impact of their absence has created a great void in our heart. Realize that our grief is okay and allow our hearts to feel the loss, but also know that the beauty of the season can continue in our lives. Take this moment to embrace those who are still here, and especially those around us, whether family or not, those who also remember the good times and can mourn with us and together create new and happy memories; or those who can help us create new memories ….
Allow yourself to grieve in your own way and at your own pace.
People will try to hurry you through your grief. Some may insist on continually trying to “cheer you up”. Others may give you advice about what you should and shouldn’t do… or how you should and shouldn’t feel.
Although their intentions are good, it is important you process your grief at your pace, in exactly the way your heart chooses. Explain to those that this is your individual process of grief- which is unique and specific to your own healing. Above all, pray through it and press on ……
Be honest with yourself about your emotions and feelings.
No one else will feel what you do, in the same way, at the same time, with the same intensity. Recognize that your emotions come from your heart and that your grieving process is an important part of your healing ….
Review new and old traditions
Consider which traditions are meaningful, and appropriate to keep, as well, those that are best to forego for a year or two. In addition, implement new traditions that will give unique and special memories that can fill your heart with joy and excitement this year and possibly become a new and cherished tradition for future years to come ….
Comfort your heart. Our hearts are precious, and the lives of those whom we love are significant. It is important to allow ourselves to grieve their loss, no matter what the circumstances that surround their absence. It is important to be honest about our feelings and emotions. Loss is a terrible heartbreak, yet just as we celebrate the birth of Jesus- the significance of His birth can be embraced along with His message of Hope that is to come. With faith we can believe that beauty awaits and joy possible yet again ….
My prayer for you is that you will allow yourself to grieve and as you do, your heart begins to mend and heal. I pray that you are able to take your pain and lay it at the feet of the Savior. As you cast every care upon His shoulders, God Himself will comfort you. I pray that your heart fills with the boundless love of your Father in heaven and this year, this holiday, you experience beauty and joy unspeakable once again ….
God bless you ….