Grieving at the holidays

Christmas is the time of love, bliss and joy. But not for everyone. For many it’s the worst time of year.

Instead of the bounty, they see only emptiness.

“The holiday season is upon us, but for many the month of December brings deep grief. We weep with the ‘quiet sense of something lost’ as we recall happier times. The whole world seems poised for celebration while holiday memories flood us and make grief feel fresh again” (Martha Whitmore Hickman).

Christmas saturates society, making it impossible to avoid. So we must learn to deal with it as best we can.

At group events, pasted smiles often mask sadness. Traditions seem robbed of their glory because our loved one[s] are no longer there to enjoy them with us.

Guilt and remorse are inevitable because we fear ruining it for everyone else. We want to retreat, hide and protect ourselves. Yet, that’s the last thing we need.

Grief, like depression, smothers us and hoards our attention. We fight it by reaching out to others in a moderate and measured way.

We must realize that new attitudes, focus and traditions can be a blessing. They’re not a betrayal of those who have passed, since they would want us to persevere and enjoy ourselves.

Healthier perspectives through Christ and the bigger picture are empowering. Death is a part of the cycle (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; Hebrews 10:25). We’re comforted knowing that not even grief can separate us from God (Romans 8:38-39).

The Lord will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5) and he offers unprecedented solace to the suffering (Psalm 34:18). He will lead us through the pain and allow us to breathe and even smile again.

Enjoy the season, despite the pain. We’re still here and we can’t allow grief to rob us of life.

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