Thursday, December 12, 2013

Confronting Christmas

Christmas stirs all sorts of convoluted thoughts, memories and feelings during grief: confusing, chaotic, confounded, complicated, conflicted... We could probably go through the whole alphabet for

A blogger friend named Renee' once left this comment:
There is no doubt that the holidays are a challenge to those missing their loved ones! Last year, I broke tradition and decided not to put up a tree; a "first" in my lifetime. My Christmas season looks altogether different since my husband's home-going, having set new traditions into place. It is good to give ourselves permission to do whatever works for us, and helpful to save our energy for the aspects of the holiday season that are most important to us.

She summed it up well--the holidays are a challenge!

But, like Renee', we can plan ways to face this challenge:
  • Dare to break tradition and decide what you do or do not want to do
  • Realize that this season will look altogether different
  • Give yourself permission to do whatever works
  • Save your energy for the important things
It's so important to realize that your body has most likely been running on adrenaline this first year. Fatigue sets in easily; good sleep is a stranger. Quit pushing yourself or you'll be among the first to catch the latest virus and it will take you longer to recover from it.

Keep first things first and remember what Christmas is really about---that Jesus came to redeem us and offer eternal life. Have you accepted his gift yet? That's all we really need to put on our list for this Christmas.

P.S. Here's an excellent book about facing Christmas and other holidays and occasions: The Empty Chair by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries 


  1. Good practical advice!

  2. Great post and very good advice. ♥

    I want to thank you adding this to your post.

    "Keep first things first and remember what Christmas is really about---that Jesus came to redeem us and offer eternal life. Have you accepted his gift yet? That's all we really need to put on our list for this Christmas."

    I am guilty myself of getting caught up in my grief during the holidays. I shouldn't be putting my grief at the top of my list.

  3. "Give yourself permission to do whatever works."

    I think this is wonderful advice. We are all so unique and so are our situations.

    This will be the third Christmas without my beloved husband.

    The first one I spent at home alone on Christmas Day. Not at all a good idea. It felt "odd" to be the only non-relative at a Boxing Day family gathering the following day with folks from church.

    I realized then that I had to make plans on my own. So the next Christmas I went away with a bus tour. Much better.

    Lots of festive activities among friendly people. A beautiful setting. Special meals. Even an informal "Carol Sing" in a lounge of the Grand Hotel in Nashville. New friends. New experiences. And for a person who had very little energy, all the planning and preparing and decorating was done by others.

    Now for the third Christmas. I love New England and now I've booked a tour going to the White Mountains for Christmas Week. I have even less energy now because of all the chemo and radiation treatments, so appreciate that my only task will be to "show up". The gift will be in the rest, refreshment, and zest of adventure that a trip to a new place entails. I always find folks friendly, caring, and kind.

    I find it literally true that God's mercies are new every morning. He finds new ways to bless me every. single. day. In spite of bereavement, cancer, heart problems, loss of work and income, loss of energy, and side effects from chemo. It really is true that He daily "loads" us with blessings.

    I can't remember who said it, but I sure do like it:

    "Every moment of our lives, we are standing under a Niagara of blessings."

    God bless you, Ferree. And Merry Christmas to you and all your sweet readers.

    Honey Bee


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