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Holidays can be a sad time

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Christmas can intensify feelings of loss

By Shirley Jones

“He is … acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3

Christmas can be a difficult time when you’ve lost a loved one. The sounds and sights that once brought joy just reinforce your sense of loss. There’s no magic formula; grief is a process you must walk through, and it takes time.

Here are some ideas that might help:

•Keep things in prospective. Christmas is just one day out of 365. You can do anything for 24 hours because God promised that “Your strength will equal your days.” Deuteronomy 33:25. 

•Reach out. See if there’s a needy family or a lonely neighbor who would enjoy spending an hour with you. Reaching out is difficult, but it takes the focus off you and brings healing.

•Don’t believe the myth. Don’t assume that everybody else is having a perfect Christmas while you struggle. Even for Christians, the unrealistic demands and the pressures of shopping, entertaining and gift giving reduce the importance of Jesus’ birth. Why do you think we’re so relieved when it’s all over?

•Create new traditions. Especially when old ones make you feel worse. Create traditions that work for you now; you might even keep them for years.

If you’re struggling with Christmas this year, here’s a prayer for you: Lord, you know how I feel today. Your word says you are familiar with grief. Heal my heart and fill its emptiness. Become more real to me than the activity without and the loneliness within. Help me to discover you, and in so doing, make this a Christmas like none I’ve ever known.”