For many people, this holiday season will not be jolly. Some have lost loved ones recently, and others have experienced ambiguous loss, as with my family. The holidays remind us of our losses. Also, for many families unresolved issues may linger, making the time together stressful and any real connecting difficult. Others are homeless, or without food, or incarcerated, or dealing with mental illness. The list goes on.
For those who are blue this holiday season, though you may not feel like it, resolve to stay near to God and people. Instead of isolating, consider sharing how you are feeling with at least one safe person and let that person minister to you.
If you are a person of faith, spending some quiet moments journaling with God, praying in authenticity, and reading Scripture may strengthen you.
My favorite scripture in difficult times reminds me of the love and tender care of God:
“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry...When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Ps 34: 15, 17-19
For those of you who are not blue this holiday season, please be attentive to those who may be. In conversation, you may ask people how they are doing and just listen. When they pause, ask them to tell you more. Do this until they say everything they want to say. Though it costs nothing monetarily, listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give to people this season.
I am encouraged to see how God uses the comfort he has given to us to help comfort others.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor. 1:3, 4
Let’s stay near to God and each other during this holiday season and be attentive to God’s working in and through our lives. We may receive gifts that we never could have imagined.
For more information on ambiguous loss or spiritual formation, visit Tammy’s blog at www.PatandTammyMcleod.com