How I’m Claiming Joy For The Holidays
Happy times are supposed to be happy. The twinkling Christmas lights, the smell of the Thanksgiving meal; Nat King Cole crooning Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire. Nothing about those things are sad. Unless your holidays are associated with a hurt. Then suddenly those same things that wrap the world in glad tidings wrap you in pain. You and thousands of others for a variety of reasons. Joy for the holidays can seem like a distant dream.
I’ve struggled lately with my thoughts and attitude regarding this upcoming season. Thanksgiving to New Years is such a magical time for me, and I have years of memories and traditions that I cherish. However, a new layer was added to my festivities this year, and it changes things. I’m not a therapist, and I can’t speak to the loss of a parent or close friend, but I can speak to what is in my heart.
Last year on Thanksgiving we were expecting our first baby, last year Christmas was filled with excitement of what was to come, and last year thinking of Mary pregnant while I was, made the Nativity Story come to life. By New Years Day we had lost our baby girl, and have since spent the last year in the hard struggle of healing, and the continued journey of infertility.
This year is hard, and this year is different, but I’ve been here before. Not here exactly, but faced with the unimaginable hurt of my first marriage shattering, leaving my future forever changed. Right during the peak of Christmas season. At that time I just pushed through, and was bound to not let the actions of others take away from the true meaning of Christmas, even though the hurt remained.
This time the hurt is different, and I really have no one to blame except the One who isn’t blame worthy. This time grit and determination just might not get me through.
So when my favorite time of year is suddenly packed with pain, how am I to respond? How can I once again claim joy for the holidays?
Like any other hard situation, by taking one step at a time. One step at a time, and a lot of grace. I sincerely want to enjoy all the season has to offer from now until the end of the year. I’m making great plans, and trying to get my mind in the right place. Praying that the pain will not outweigh the pleasure, and that all the good of the season does not get swallowed up with the bad. Praying that I will so clearly see all the many blessings I do have, that I will feel nothing but gratitude to my innermost core.
Yet in those moments when I can’t see that clearly, I will give myself grace.
Yet in those moments when my plans are too much to handle, I will give myself grace.
Yet in those moments when I have to fight back tears of memories and stalled dreams, I will give myself grace.
After all, isn’t that what the holidays, and specifically Christmas are about? Grace wrapped inside a manger. Grace in the form of loved ones around a dinner table. Unspeakable, undeserved grace. So grace is what will get me through, and I will cling to it until the joy of the season is all I can hear, and I hope if you are struggling this year you cling to it too.