I can almost see the picture in my mind. The cozy living room with a blazing fire. A perfectly decorated 7-foot tall evergreen that you can almost smell. A beautifully laid table straining under the weight of a chef-inspired feast and surrounded by 3 smiling generations. The gifts are inspired. No chair is empty. But it is a dream. A fantasy. Reality rarely measures up.
It doesn’t matter what you are celebrating. Christmas. Hannukah. New Years. The holidays can be a terrible time of year for a lot of people. The pressure is on and many are left standing on the sidelines with dread.
Holiday grief isn’t limited to the people who have lost a loved one either. While death can cause the most permanent seperation, anything that causes a break in relationship can cause us pain. Geographical distance, marital breakdown or family disputes can bring stress along with the joy that is supposed to accompany the holidays.
My experience of grief during the holidays started long before my daughter died. It started when I seperated from my first husband. We seperated in March so I had had a lot of time to prepare. My daughters had been leaving my home and staying with him on the weekends for months. The anticipation went on as expected. I had a tree. I had gone shopping for them. The plans were made for my parents to come over early and take part in our little Christmas. It was different but it was okay. What I hadn’t anticipated was the grief I felt when they left later that day. It just felt wrong.
The saying goes that “Misery loves company”. I needed someone else to come up beside me and tell me that they know how it feels. That they have been in my shoes. That they have walked the same path I am on and they are willing to come back and join me for a little while. That is what I want to do for you, if you’ll let me.
It is my prayer that over the next few weeks you will find strength and encouragement from my experience. I haven’t got all the answers. I might not have many at all. But when I fail, I have a loving Father God who comes up beside me. He floods my life with Grace. With Peace. With Joy. It seems impossible. But it isn’t. Because nothing is impossible for Him. He can take the worst that I have and offer me His comfort. He can do the same for you. He is waiting to Bless you. Will you let Him?