“But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength.” 2 Timothy 4:17
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it can also be a difficult time of year, especially for those who’ve experienced loss. A lady who served in the GriefShare ministry once told me about how her dad would bring home a tree each Christmas that inevitably had a bare spot. Her father would drill a hole, whittle the end of a donor branch, and insert the bough in such a way that all looked perfect again. It reminded her of how we sometimes try to look perfect, even though we are not. Often those who have experienced loss feel the need to hide, fill in, or cover up, so others do not see their pain and grief during the holidays. As Christians we might think it will reflect poorly on our spirituality if others see our grief; or, we fear it may negatively influence how others view God. No one, as well, would want to put a “damper” on others’ celebrations. So, as a result, a lot of energy is spent to try to hide how we are feel inside. We try to plug the space, just like the bough inserted in the tree, so no one will notice, and everything will seem perfect on the outside.
The truth is, that in losing a loved one there is an emptiness, and at Christmas there are obvious reminders all around of those we’ve loved. Rather than try and cover up, hide, or suppress such feelings and reminders, although it’s not easy to do so, remember it’s okay, natural, and right, to grieve. Cherish, with tears and laughter, all the beautiful memories of your loved one(s). Honour their memory by acknowledging and celebrating the traditions that they most enjoyed. Highlight their special ornament. Bake their favourite Christmas cookies. Place Bibles in their memory. Light a candle in their honour at the Christmas table.
As we give thanks for the blessing of having had such dear ones in our lives, may the strength, hope, and healing of the One born on Christmas Day be ours.
“This is what the Lord the God of your father David says: I have heard your prayers and seen your tears: I will heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5
Thanks for meandering along with me,