What do you do during the most wonderful time of the year when everything about the holidays hurts? Honestly, the only reason I celebrated last Christmas at all was because of my kids. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed, pull the blanket over my head, and wait for the new year.
It’s hard when every holiday tradition reminds you of what you’ve lost. Everywhere you go, there’s families – laughing, whole, and intact. It pierces your heart because it emphasizes that your family is no longer that way. So what do you do?
First of all, don’t keep family traditions that are too painful. Do what you need to do to survive the holiday season, and know that you can always do something different the following year. For me, being alone was the scariest thing. If that’s your feelings too, ask family or friends to be with you at that time so that it’s not so painful. Do what your heart needs to do to be OK with Christmas, but be sensitive to the needs of your children also. For instance, if you really want to spend time at your husband’s grave on Christmas Day, but your children don’t, then ask family to watch them so you can go alone. Counseling can also help navigate this season. If you can’t afford it (because Christian counseling is ridiculously expensive), see if you could counsel with your pastor or another local pastor for free. You could also ask your church to help cover the cost. Journaling your thoughts and feelings during this time can also be a good outlet for the turbulence in your heart. Finally, make sure you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. Lots and lots of time. Remember, Christmas really is wrapped in pain. Christ came to this world because we desperately needed a Savior. He gave up his throne in heaven temporarily to walk among us, knowing he would ultimately die the painful and shameful death of the cross to pay the price for our sins. Concentrate on that this holiday season. Christmas may be different, and it may be painful, but there’s one who bled and died to take away your sin, and he will one day make all things new.