Many sense a twinge of melancholy or a wave of grief as they look at the twinkling lights this season. Among those whose names and faces etch my heart are:
- the mom who’s secretly buying her girls a Christmas card “from absent Dad.”
- the great-grandma who lost her husband/best friend plus his brother this year
- the parent who just got a devastating diagnosis
- the family that recently moved away from all they loved and called home
- the mom who’s pleading with God for her suicidal child
- the child who lost Mom
- the family who discovered their young one has special needs
- the refugees who have walked hundreds of miles facing abuse along the way to yet another rejection
If you carry someone in your heart like that, too, say a prayer for them. Offer them a compassionate word, letting them know that it’s okay to not be okay.
The Only Way to Whole is Through the Pain
If you have faced rejection, pain, or loss and are pursuing healing and seeking to be whole, then you know that numbing the pain or trying to escape it through distractions of one kind or another just don’t work. The only way to whole is through the pain.
Grief Comes in Waves
I’ve come to realize grief comes in waves. We aren’t always sure when the breaker is going to hit. When it does, if we allow ourselves to feel the pain and grieve it, then we can truly heal. We can taste the robust flavors of joy when it comes if we allow ourselves to feel real pain without dismissing it, numbing it, escaping it, or letting it cross over to an addiction of its own (for even grief can turn into an addiction to self-pity or bitterness if we allow it to).
A large breaker came crashing down the last few days for me. If you’ve experienced the same; I hear you.
How Do I Still Have a Good Christmas?
One mom experiencing great pain and loss was wondering how to do Christmas in its wake. Part of it, I think, is just being willing to be.
- To be yourself- grief and all
- To be in Christ- walking with Him through whatever you are facing
- To be thankful for what is- letting go of expectations for what you think Christmas should be
The Secret to A Good Christmas Anyway
During the story for children at our Christmas Eve service, our children’s director explained the secret to our children. She explained in simple terms that it’s easy to be distracted by something else during this season (from presents and toys to inescapable sorrow and loss). She recommended the children be like the wise men who were wise because they were looking for the star and rejoiced when they saw it. We are wise when we are looking for Jesus this season (even in the little things) and rejoice when we see Him.
I’m sure Mary and Joseph weren’t expecting the perfect census or perfect delivery experience that first Christmas. Yet, they likely hoped for more than they got in terms of accommodations. I can’t imagine delivering in a place where animals are kept and lying either of my sons in a feeding trough. But what they did have-even in the face of all the rejections, gossip, wounded reputation, weariness from travel, and exhaustion from delivery- was Jesus. The Savior. The Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And we have him, too.
Were we wise, we would be looking and watching for him today and every day.
Just for Fun
As I’ve been thinking about this and writing this, the song Blue Christmas has been running through my head- along with memories from long ago of some of my favorite people around a fire singing it with popcorn and all the funny high parts sung with jubilation. So just for kicks (and in honor of my grandma who loved Elvis): Blue Christmas
If you’re still pondering this topic, you might be interested in this article: When Merry isn’t Possible. It’s a good read if you aren’t somber yourself, but know someone who is. If you like these, you might also like:
Copyright © 2019 Angela Edmonds. All rights reserved.