Holidays - Blog

For Some, It’s Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Lillian Cain with Alison Wilson

 

I was 16 the year the season lost its wonder. It was the first Christmas after my parents’ divorce.

And no one knew just how miserable I was.

This time of year, our culture makes family out to be the wellspring of peace, joy and love. Music and advertisements brand the season as “merry and bright.” But when family is the source of your deepest hurts, faking merriness may be about as close as you can get to Christmas spirit.

Focusing on family only emphasized what was broken and absent in my life. The damage divorce had wreaked intensified during the holidays. The season that claimed to be healing to my soul became salt in my wounds.

In the year I invited Jesus into my life and trusted Him to pay for my sin, though, Christmas took on entirely new meaning. I was captured by the kindness of God bringing Jesus to our world in such a humble way to give people like me a way to know Him forever. After years of salt-in-the-wound Christmases, I found some true joy in the holiday.

But even in the midst of newfound joy, I experience increased sorrow. My family doesn’t see Christmas the same way I now do. They don’t personally understand the gravity of Christ’s birth. They go through the motions of that sacred Christmas Eve but don’t grasp what makes it sacred.

That disparity breaks my heart. I have new joy in the holiday — but new sorrow, too.

And I’m not the only one. Many people endure Christmas instead of enjoying it. Who in your life may be hurting during the holidays? Here are ways you can show them love during this difficult season:

  • Pray: Pray that they’ll feel the freedom to grieve their losses in the midst of the holiday.
  • Ask: Create space for your hurting friends to share their grief. Ask them about their feelings during the holidays. Even if it’s too difficult for them to share, just knowing that someone else has thought about their situation helps.
  • Show: Let them know you haven’t forgotten about them. You don’t have to do anything fancy. Sending a quick text on Christmas day saying you’re thinking or praying may mean the world to a hurting friend.

But what if you’re the one who’s hurting? Resist the lie that you have to stuff it all inside and be merry and bright. Try opening up to people you trust. This year, I’m not going to hide my pain under the Christmas glitz. My friends need to know — and probably want to know — how difficult the holiday is for me.

Most importantly, share your burdens with God. He knows your pain and doesn’t find it negative or too awkward to handle. He doesn’t turn away or silence those who are grieving. He longs to embrace the brokenhearted. Run into His arms and find wonder in His comfort during a time that may not otherwise feel so wonderful.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, New American Standard Bible).

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