On holiday grief

For those who are missing loved ones, the holiday season can stir up a bittersweet concoction of difficult emotions.

That can be true for all kinds of grief.

Here, I’m specifically referring to that which hangs over us due to a loved one’s death.

I love Christmas with Dave and our family.

I love celebrating the sentinel event of God becoming man.

And—Mom’s death 2 1/2 years ago also knocked some of the stuffing out of my Christmas spirit.

That first year, I couldn’t put up a single decoration.

Last year was better—especially in our new home with new traditions.

This year is easier still.

It really does take time to heal, and being surrounded by those we love helps tremendously.

There’s no rushing grief, so you might as well throw in the towel on that plan.

Sure, you can suppress it to get through what’s needed—and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m a champion compartmentalizer, a trait that has served me well through many a storm.


If you don’t address your grief in some manner, it will likely demand your attention eventually.

The holidays create a ripe environment for that to happen.

When mine unexpectedly grabs me by the shoulders and plops me down in a puddle of tears, I just nod and reach for the tissues.

I’m grateful that God gives me tears as a tribute to the loved ones I miss.

I’m grateful that I’m surrounded with tremendous love each and every day.

I’m grateful that God knows exactly what I need—especially when I don’t.

And that the Holy Spirit will complete my prayer that simply begins with, “Help.”

…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 

Romans 8:26 (NIV)

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