When Christmas Hurts
If you know anything about me at all, you know that I love Christmas. I love everything about it: the tree, lights, concerts and shows, time with family, good food, and all the holiday activities. However, the last few years have made me see the holidays in a different light. I still love them, but there are moments where I feel less than jolly, or the lights don’t seem quite as bright.
Grief does that. The past few years have brought many trials; from an unexpected passing of a dear family member, mourning infertility, miscarriage, the loss of a child, and so much more.
It’s not always that the holidays bring deep grief, though for some they might. It’s more the seasonal marker of time passing. It’s the reminder of how many Christmases it has been without that family member, that child, that dream; how long since you started waiting, since a major life change, since that diagnosis…you fill in the blank.
It can be hard to walk through the holidays when you feel as though you have to put on a happy face when all you want to do is weep. It’s hard when those around you seemingly forget the hard in the midst of the holiday.
Let me encourage you, friend: you are seen. Not only by me, but also by our Savior. Jesus promises to be close to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18), and if that is you, friend, claim that promise! If the holiday season brings tears, let it. Even Jesus wept (John 11).
So, if you’re entering this season with an empty chair, an empty womb, or an empty ring finger, call on the Lord, for he promises to be near to all who call on him (Ps. 145:18). But more than that, the Lord promises that one day, he will fix it. God will be with us, and we will be his. He will wipe away every tear, and there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:3-4). I don’t know about you, friend, but even in the midst of grief and lament, I find so much joy and hope in that promise.
If you’re with someone who is hurting this Christmas, help them by creating a safe place for them to cry, to lament, to mourn, or to question. God does not call on us to “fix it,” or to point out the silver lining. We do not need to try to put the square peg of happiness and holiday cheer in to the round hole of grief. The hope of the cheerful is not in a Merry Christmas. It is the same as the hope of the grieving, that Christ is coming back to make all wrong things right. So please, do as Paul calls us and weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). That may be the best gift you can give them this Christmas.
This holiday season, join me as I remind myself of truth: I am redeemed, I am his, the Lord has called me by name, he is with me, he is my Savior (Isa. 43:1-3), and he will make all things new. With those promises, even through weeping, we can have joy. And just maybe, the lights might seem a little brighter this Christmas.