‘Tis The Season
As I look out my patio door and see the fresh snow, it makes me realize that Christmas is around the corner and I am a tad late on getting my to-do list completed. Actually, I haven’t even made my to-do list. I am one that loves the holidays – especially Christmas. Normally by now my house is decorated, cards are addressed and I’ve at least started my shopping. It will all happen in its own timing.
Something tells me I am not alone in feeling a little anxious with expectations of the holidays. If this is the first couple of years without your spouse or loved one, the holidays seem to take on a whole new meaning. It can be tough but with God’s help, you will get through it.
When I think about our to-do lists and try to imagine what Mary and Joseph were going through with the birth of Jesus, my to-do list is so insignificant. Luke 2:4-9 gives an account of some of what they went through: So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Mary was to deliver her firstborn son in a manger. I can only imagine she thought if she was to deliver The Messiah, He should be born in some place much nicer than a manger. Her expectations were probably much higher than the reality of giving birth in a stable.
How often are our expectations greater than our realities? How do we handle these differences? Where is God in all of this? His promise in Luke 2:14 is: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. This may seem like a promise that is out there and not something that is going to happen for us. Rest assure that God’s promise is to bring us peace.
For many of you, you have already chosen to change up what you will do for the holidays. Some suggestions may be:
- · Take a trip with your immediate family someplace where your loved one would have loved to go.
- · In the past you may have had a traditional meal. Consider having only appetizers and assign what your guests bring. Take the pressure off of you.
- · If this year it is too painful to entertain, allow yourself permission to be alone.
- · If you have been invited elsewhere for the holiday, please do not feel like you need to commit on attending. Let them know you will think about it. Again, give yourself permission to arrive late or leave early.
- · If your tradition was to always attend a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service, you may want to sit in the back row or near an exit just in case you feel the need to leave early.
Below are a few ideas to remember your spouse:
- · If you are one who hangs Christmas stockings, continue to hang the stocking of your spouse.
- · One of my widow friends has kept her late husband’s favorite coffee cup. No matter where she is for the holiday, she brings the cup with her and it becomes part of the table centerpiece.
- · Another widow friend puts markers on the table and before the table gets set, they each write something small such as the year such as an I love you, if there are small children, they trace the hand print of the child. As each year passes, they continue this tradition. As the family grows, they add another table with another table cloth.
- · Donate to a charity to honor your spouse or loved one.
Last but not least – do not forget about yourself. You are still in the healing process.
- · It is OK to turn down invitations especially if it is too painful.
- · Schedule a massage, manicure or pedicure for yourself.
- · Be honest with yourself with your friends and family. Unless they have walked in your shoes, they may not understand your decisions.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is Mary Did You Know written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. You may want to go to and listen to this song being sung by Mark Lowry or David Phillips. One of the things I love about this song, is that Mary did know that with her faith in God, that all would work out according to plan.
As we know, our plans do not always work out as we see fit. God has a master plan in our lives. My prayer is you find God’s peace and feel His arms wrapped around you.
Blessings to each of you. Our loved ones always live in our hearts.