to those who grieve at Christmas

photo-1480480213546-c79a7c9f0904It doesn’t matter how long it’s been.

It may be 20 years. Maybe it was last year. Maybe even less than that.

If no one else has given you permission this season to grieve, that’s what I’m here for.

It seems like as the time passes, there’s an unspoken expectation that it should be easier. And in some ways, it is. Time does heal in parts. But there are scars on your heart from the things you’ve seen, and there are holes where their presence should still be. Memories that you now have without them. Whether or not anyone else knows, there will always be an empty place at the table for them in your mind.

You wonder how they would have loved to experience all the things you experienced this year. You wonder if you’ve honored their memory well. You keep looking into the future wondering how you’ll continue. Will it get easier? Will it be harder? And you have felt like no one else understands.

You may have even believed the lie that God has moved on. Maybe He was with you during the thick of it, maybe even after. But has it been so long in your mind, you’re sure He’s tired of hearing from you?

Here’s what He has to say:

“You’re blessed when you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” [Matthew 5:4]

You may be right. There may be no one around you who can really understand. They may have forgotten. But I promise you, your God has not.

As you celebrate Christmas, God watches your heart long for hope again. And His promise is that the sacrifice of His own son “… was what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it – life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.” [Isaiah 53:10 msg]

On the very first Christmas, your Hope was born. The Hope and the Light of the world came vulnerable and needy, so that we would be able to relate. Do you feel a bit vulnerable and kind of needy? You’re not doing anything wrong. God’s plan in your life will deeply prosper because of the gift of Jesus.

He’s not asking to you to simply move on. He’s not asking you to ignore how you feel. All He hopes for is your trust. Not that you would trust in Him, but that you would trust Him. Trust that the integrity and the heart of God is enough for every place you feel you have lacked for so long. If He got you through the darkest time of your life, won’t He get you through now? He promises more than just getting through, though. He promises “life, life, and more life.” Your only job is to trust that in Him, more life is possible.

I know it feels lonely because no one else will truly understand. He understands.

I know it feels like you can never be whole again. His was wounded so that you could be healed.

I know it feels like real joy is out of the question for you. Your strength comes from His joy, not your own.

I know it feels wrong to hope for joy, and newness. But it is God’s best plan and His promise to you.

Can I ask you for a favor this Christmas? You may be someone who doesn’t like to ask for help or intrude on the lives of others. I’m asking you to reach out. Don’t allow isolation to lie to your already broken heart to tell you that no one cares. Someone cares. Maybe it’s a counselor. Maybe a family member. Maybe an old friend. Maybe someone on Facebook. Maybe someone you’ve always wanted to get to know and have been too afraid to try.

Trying may feel like too much right now. I know.

Try anyway.

Invite yourself to a Christmas dinner. Send a text to someone you trust and tell them, “Hey, this Christmas is hard for me.” Go see a movie.

The loss that you feel in your heart is big enough. Don’t let the enemy steal even more from you by making you believe the lies of loneliness. Someone cares. I promise. If no one else, I care. And your God cares.

The thought of a new year may feel unbearable. Another new thing for you to face without them there.

My prayer for you is that you would find Hope again. Let hope start small. He promises to multiply whatever you give Him, and make it so much more.

After your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in His eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever.” [1 Peter 5:10 TPT]

 

 

 

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