Christmas is almost here! What an amazing time of year…..YES, an amazing time of year. I’m not sure it is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” for those who grieve, but it is amazing. What amazes me is the human capacity to feel loss in the midst of decorations, family, friends, concerts and food. Our grief is not overtaken by people, places or things. Rather, it is remedied by stepping into the pain. “The only cure for grief is to grieve.” –Earl Grollman
So how can this holiday that seems to mock my pain and suffering, that fires sniper shots when least expected, become my asset rather than my dread?
Maybe if we look deep into the Christmas story we will find our answer. If God sent his only Son into this world to die for it, then God must know firsthand about loss and grief. What would it feel like for God to give us his Son as a vulnerable infant? Jesus’ life was threatened from the beginning. Evil, with the intent to kill followed him each day of his life. Finally, through the demon possessed throng, they shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Does our God know and understand our pain and broken heart? Oh, Yes! More than we could ever comprehend.
And how did Jesus live? In fear? In despair? Obsessed with his impending doom? No, he lived with grace, gladness, joy, thanksgiving, hope and love ~ even towards those who killed him. For his death was not just earthly, but eternal. It was his choice to give his life. He chose death, so we could chose life ~ both now and forever.
If you choose to view the Bible as a great story book, then the story of Jesus coming down to show the world how to live thoroughly . . . well, that’s just mind boggling. What if it’s true? What if it’s not just a story? What if He actually DID do that? Now life is worth living even with our pain. Even our grieving life has the capacity to connect us with each other and with God in ways we could never had known before.
This Christmas we can choose how our grief is going to dictate our thoughts and actions. We have little control over the feelings. The best way to deal with an attacking feeling is to embrace it. We do this by talking it over with a close friend, writing about it in a journal, exercising, or by choosing an intentional action in memory to our loved one.
We can choose to accept family or social interaction that honors our process and decline the ones that do not. We can choose to contribute to the blessing of others who also suffer during this season for lack of food , safety, or shelter. It is possible to grieve and smile at the same time. Give yourself permission to cry and laugh as you reminisce over the memories of your loved one. Your friends and family may be more willing to be a part of your grieving process when you choose to share your authentic feelings. You might find the comforting hand of someone willing to walk with you and give you a new Christmas perspective.