Holiday Ready or Not…
Holidays have always been an important part of our lives especially in our religious circles. Growing up in a large family, we didn’t have much. We did always have food on our table, clothes to wear and were loved. It wasn’t until I was about eleven or twelve that I realized that there were a lot of others that had a lot more than I did. I remember asking my mom why we only received one present as little kids when others received several. Instead of focusing on what we didn’t have, my mom chose this as a lesson on what we did have. As I grew older, I realized that little talk would do me more good than I would ever know.
Holidays were always so special. Being I was one of the younger siblings, it was sad for me as each of the older siblings move out of our home either to get married, go into the military or went off to work. But each holiday, they would all come back home (except for those in the military) for the holiday meal. Our table was always decorated with the ‘good’ dishes and a centerpiece tied to the holiday. There was anticipation of others arriving and three of my dad’s sisters always joined us bringing treats. Amazing how when we are young, life just floats by, everything seems so rosy.
With Thanksgiving behind us for this year and the Christmas holiday just around the corner, this can be the time of year that may be very difficult for many people. I remember the first Thanksgiving as a teenager when two of my brothers were in the Army and stationed in Korea and one of my sister-in-law’s was tragically killed in a car accident on the way to church. Oh how I question God about what He was thinking. How could that happen! Things like this were not supposed to happen. But life does happen. Many of you have lost a loved one that you were very close to. You had plans for the future with them. You had dreams.
One verse that comes to mind is Psalm 34:18 which reads: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. What I like about this verse is the promise from God that He is there for you and I. Does this mean it will be easy? Absolutely not.
It’s the small steps we take along the road. The small reminder that God is with us. The note you may receive in the mail. The phone call from a friend or family member. A text message or an email. A smile or that hug from someone who has walked in your shoes. May I suggest you jot down a little thing that happens to you that makes you smile? You may not see something each day but before you know it, the list will become a sign to you that God is with you helping you see the little things in life.
I often think of the conversation I had with my mom as a little girl and realize how right she was. Life isn’t about what I don’t have but about what I do have. Yes I miss those who have gone onto heaven. The amazing part is that one day I will see them again.
The first couple of years after my husband died, the holidays were difficult. In talking with others who have lost their spouse, they have shared things they have done to help through this new season of their lives. A few suggestions may be:
- If you are one that hangs Christmas stockings and are not sure whether to hang one for the you have lost – Perhaps have family members write something they remember about that person. It can be something funny or something they miss. Perhaps a fun trip or conversation. Then take turns pulling out the notes and reading them.
- Purchasing a Christmas ornament in their honor.
- Lighting a candle in their honor.
- I know this one is going to sound strange – but helping others helps you also. Perhaps calling or visiting someone going through what you have gone through this past year.
Please believe me when I tell you that you will laugh again! The holidays will get easier! God has promised to never leave us. He wants you to be happy and smile again – and so would your loved one.
I pray you find God’s peace as you try to get through these first holidays without your loved one. May you feel God’s arms wrapped around you!
Peace and blessings to each of you.