When you think of the holidays, what comes to mind? For some, it’s the hustle and bustle, lots of traffic, or maybe fond memories of years gone by. But, what if those memories only bring a flood of grief because of the absence of dear family members? If that resonates with you, please remember you are not alone. While there are many practical ways to cope with pain, and you should try to find what’s best for you, remember that real relief is found in the one true source, Jesus Christ.
You may, at times, feel that you are alone or that no one understands, and it’s ok to feel that way. Until a person has experienced that level of grief, they may not understand. During your healing process try to remember that while no one can ever take the place of your loved one, there is One who does understand, and He is here for you with arms open wide. Isaiah 53:3 describes Jesus as a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief. You see, it is easy to imagine our Savior as a far-off God, living in a land of rainbows and roses. But He empathizes with our weaknesses because He has been in our shoes. Hebrews 4:15 says He doesn’t minimize our pain, because he understands it. He has felt it.
Friends, may I encourage you? Psalm 34:18 states that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. In Matthew 5:3, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” So, does that mean that we are to suffer until one day we finally reach Heaven? Absolutely not. Romans 14:17 says, “For the Kingdom of Heaven is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So, when you feel that sorrow, remember you are actually perfectly positioned for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is His deepest longing to fill you with his peace and joy, to bind up your wounds, and to give you beauty for ashes, even when you feel that all you have left is ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
Here are some practical tips that you may want to consider, especially during the holiday season. Volunteer…There is a reason why it is said that it is more blessed to give than receive. It is understandable to feel you have nothing left to give. The joy you receive as you volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen, may surprise you. Or try starting new traditions. You’re not leaving the old behind but forming a new avenue for new connections and sweet memories. Maybe you’d enjoy decorating cookies with friends and family or gathering together for a gift exchange. There are many things you can do that will give you something to look forward to, and a chance for true connection with loved ones.
We wish you a meaningful Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!