Have you ever felt like just skipping over the holiday season altogether?
Does your heart ache while those around you are rejoicing during Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Do you find yourself anxious, depressed, or experiencing pure dread when you consider this time of year?
Can I just say that you are not alone?
The holidays are hard for lots of people.
Especially if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one whose presence will be sorely missed around the table.
I know that I am always sensitive to the fact that there are adults (my step sons and daughter) around the table who lost their mother to cancer three years ago, and they miss her terribly.
But maybe it’s a divorce that leaves you lonely.
Or the loss of a child to addiction, homelessness, or death.
Perhaps you are haunted by memories from your childhood when you were sinned against and are still grieving the loss of your innocence … this time of year only reminds you of how painful those early holidays were.
It might be you made a poor choice as an adult and are still sensing the chains that accompany the consequences from that decision.
The emotions stirred up this time of year can almost be too much to bear.
But take heart, dear one.
When Jesus saved you, He did not give you amnesia. The consequences of the trauma in your life don’t just disappear when you give Him your heart. He wants to bring healing to those broken places. All those devastated emotions, the pain, the heartbreak. He wants to untangle each area and bring life and wholeness.
Psalm 147:3 declares, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
The question remains.
Will you allow Him in?
In Untangled: The Truth Will Set You Free by Michele Pillar, we watch the skillful hands of the Great Physician, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bring pain long buried to light and pour the restorative balm of the Spirit’s healing into those wounds. To see that act of love result in total redemption and freedom was a sight to behold. But it took Michele being willing. She was courageous enough to embrace the pain as well as the healing.
Remember, there’s no resurrection without the pain of the cross. It was true for Jesus. And it’s true with us as well.
Maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one during this holiday season.
In Surviving the Holidays Without You: Navigating Grief During Special Seasons by Gary Roe, we learn healthy ways to grieve and address that proverbial elephant in the room that seems to overpower all who gather.
May we allow Jesus into those hurting places that we’ve declared “off limits” to God and receive the greatest holiday gift of all, freedom and joy. Then, may we allow Him to use us as a conduit to share hope with others who are struggling during this holiday season.
Let us be sensitive to those whose hearts are heavy this time of year. To those who are in the valley of despair and don’t know how to get out.
Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)
And remember that our God is faithful.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)