Childhood memories linger from years past: eager anticipation, a shiny new red bicycle, new clothes, or that unexpected something that communicated love and generosity. My family Christmases always represented a fun, light, and cheerful time. Security, laughter, and grace abounded.
But now both of my parents have passed, the home sold, and some memories have faded. Instead of red and green, my Christmas season may turn a bit blue. Here are a few tips to combat a Blue Christmas:
Spend some time this month with your "blueness." By this I mean, take time to grieve your loss. It's OK to go back to the emotions of your loss and recall past memories. Cry when tears come. Weep when many tears come. Engage your loss and plumb some of the depths of the hurt. Emotions are blessings from God and are neither good or bad–they just are. Be OK with emotions over the loss of a loved one. Remember, with great love comes great pain.
For every day that there is sunshine, there will be days of rain, it's how we dance within them both that shows our love and pain. – Joey Tolbert
Cherish your happy memories with gratitude and fondness. See your glass as half full instead of half empty. Pull out the picture albums and reminisce the joy of friends and family. Take time to thank God for what He has done in your life. Discuss the older ornaments on your Christmas tree with your kids or spouse to remind yourself of their specialness. Determine to honor the good times as well as the challenging times.
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Create new memories. Think of those who you love and cherish. Create new memories for others to enjoy. Focus on the living and how you can be a blessing to their lives and build memories that will last. Be a new creation.
Serve the needy. When Jesus found himself caught up in his grief with the loss of Lazarus (John 11), he served. He thought of others and reached out. This holiday season, reach out to those less fortunate. Visit a lonely neighbor or go downtown to serve the homeless. Call a relative who has become estranged from the family. Think of other unique ways to serve. It may turn your blue Christmas red.
Find God in everything you do. Loss leaves an emptiness that can drive us into the open arms of a loving God. He cares for you, loves you, is full of compassion, and wants you to know him throughout your loss. God has a special heart for the griever:
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
– Psalm 31:1-2
I hope this message encourages you as you celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus!