Sadness

The overarching emotion most of us feel when we grieve is all-consuming sadness.

Relief

In case anyone needs permission, it is okay to admit that we feel relief when the season has passed, especially when we are grieving. 

Grief in the New Year

Time does not stand still for those who grieve.

Christmas

In Luke 2, verses 10-11 we read, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’”

Seek the Light

We make our way through the valley of the shadow of death because of the certainty of light, the assurance of God's light, the light we seek at Christmas.

Reluctance

At this time of the year, whatever festival or occasion you celebrate, most of us can recall a vignette of some kind that is part of our personal lore of the season. Some experiences we cherish and remember for a lifetime, others persist in memory, though in truth maybe they are better forgotten.

Celebrate

Grief often collides with the ongoing celebration of life.

The Forest

As the custom of the Christmas tree developed in the 19th century, “O Tannenbaum” was adopted as a Christmas carol. The song speaks of the ever-green quality of the fir as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness. When we reflect on the spiritual imagery represented by the Christmas tree, we’re reminded of God’s faithfulness to us, especially as we grieve, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV).

Thanksgiving

On October 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation, “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” At that historic time of divisive war, no one was spared from grief. Everyone lost someone or something - a loved one, property, dignity, or an old way of life.

Forgetting

Even if we have done the work of forgiveness, when the dying coals of pain, bad memories, and negative experiences are fanned to life by some reminder from the past, it is not always our first response to douse the flames, especially at the holidays. Our impulse is to cozy up to the fire, make some s’mores, and warm our indignation by the roaring fire of our hurt and self-justification.

Forgiving

When we grieve, the holidays can seem like a kind of kaleidoscopic emotional blur. Our spirit spins from the chaotic contradiction of sorrow and seasonal joy, sadness and holiday cheer, loneliness and festive gatherings.

Our Saints in Circulation

Because our experience of grief is both intimate and personal, often we memorialize our loved ones more privately than publicly. When we invite others into the sacred space of our grief, we share our story of love and loss with those in need of community and spiritual encouragement. As we open our heart to close family members, acquaintances, or even relative strangers, we put our saints in circulation.
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