Surviving The Holidays
by: Michael Woods | December 21, 2018
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
It’s not easy to grieve anytime. And it can be doubly difficult to grieve during the holidays when so many memories and strong feelings come into play.
It’s no wonder then that you may dread the holidays if you’re mourning the death of a loved one at such a time. It’s not always the loss of a loved one, although that’s obviously a big source of grief. For many people it could be a loss of a dream, the loss of that life that you wish you had, illness, or perhaps the loss of a job. The holidays can often be a time of great sadness for people.
It’s worth asking yourself, “Is there anything positive I can hold onto when my grief season meets up with the holiday season?”
I believe there are four hopeful possibilities worth considering:
First, one of the best things you can do is give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Try not to fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things in order to make the holiday “normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to appropriately vent some steam.
Second, the holiday season is no time to feign strength and independence. You will need the help and support of others to get through, so don’t feel as if you are a burden. Surround yourself with people who care. They may be people who are sharing a loss with you or they may simply be good friends. Surround yourself with ones who can support you and love you through the holiday season.
Third, it’s easy to see other people or families enjoying holiday festivities and compare their experience to what you feel during this difficult time. This may make you feel worse or that you’re lacking in some fashion. Try to embrace what you have rather than compare it to what you think others have. If you’ve lost a loved one, some of the old traditions that you did on these special days can be too difficult to repeat right now. It doesn’t mean you won’t later, but instead try making some new traditions that come with this new place in life.
Fourth, use this season to serve others. Consider volunteering at a nursing home, hospital, hospice, children’s shelter, or soup kitchen. You can also find a way to help another family member or friend who may need it. Any of these things can prove cathartic and help in the healing process.
And finally, focus on the true meaning of Christmas. While that may sound like a cliché, focusing on the true meaning of Christmas can actually be a surprising source of comfort. If you’re discouraged during the holidays, remind yourself that Jesus came to heal your heart, and this world. Because of Him, one day there will be no more suffering. And even right now, in the middle of your hurt and suffering, Jesus wants to be a part of your life, comfort you and help you heal.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13