Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hope during the Holidays

I was reading my niece, Chayil's blog this morning, , which by the way is a great blog to follow - she is a young mom that has great insight on life, family and God. Anyway, she posted a song by Selah called, "Unredeemed" and it got me thinking of all those who have lost someone or something this year. This Christmas may be different, someone may be missing, so I have listed some tips to help those in those situations this year.

I do know what that is like as in 2005 we lost our dad and that Christmas was different, both he and my mom were not there as she as very ill. I remember the feelings of having to go through the motions of Christmas for everyone else but feeling sad and somewhat disconnected. It wasn't the same and in some sense has never been the same since. But we do adjust and move on although we never forget - the memories become more sweet than sad over time. I am posting the song at the end of this post as I think it is so appropriate for this subject today.

10 ways to move through grief during Christmas

1. Don’t put excessive expectations on yourself. Don’t expect the holidays to be the same.

2. Rest. Cut down the Christmas clutter and limit activities

3. Rearrange furniture to reduce “absence” reminders.

4. Avoid sugar highs and lows because they naturally induce emotional lows. Also, steer clear of overeating and under-sleeping. Eat well-balanced diets. Some mood enhancing natural foods include yogurt, green tea, omega-3 rich foods (i.e. salmon, cod liver oil, etc.), and lower sugar dark chocolate.

5. Talk about your loved one. Spend time talking about the memories, the times they were with you, the funny things they said and did. This is the best way to grieve is to talk and laugh and enjoy your memories. I few tears are ok too as you reminisce.

6. Admit grief. Trying to move forward while denying the reality of grief causes one to fall face forward. Does your face smile while inside you are crying? Give yourself permission to cry. Jesus wept. Weeping releases excessive tension.

7. Forgive and receive forgiveness through Jesus. Release everything to the Lord, including any so-called regrets about your departed loved one. If there are those who have hurt you this year or you are estranged from those who previously spent Christmas with you - choose to forgive and let go.

8. Reach out to others that are going through hard time and hang around kids this Christmas. It may not feel easy. It may even feel impossible. Ask Jesus to love through you and get your eyes off your problems and on to Him and others.

9. Understand the concept of new normalcy. New traditions and expectations may seem hard if not impossible, but God gave you your previous normal. Ask Him to give grace/hope in the face of the new normal.

10. Remember: Trials don’t indicate a reduction in God’s love for you. He loves you and promises to make things right in the end. Spend time focusing on His unchanging love for you. This is a hard one but I can tell you from experience that it is so so true.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV)

Holidays include lots of grief for relationships/loved ones that left, forsook, or died. But let's focus on the essence of Christmas: the present of Jesus' presence in our lives!

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