At this time of year, lots of tears are shed because it’s natural to reminisce and rummage through our memory bank which is packed full of memories of past holidays; You might pull from a box a Christmas ornament that has a lasting memory attached to it, or you may even smell a certain fragrance that takes you back in time to a certain place that embraced a cozy moment. Or maybe over the holidays, you will be given a box of homemade goodies that will remind you of a special friend or loved one. Some of our memories are sweet and funny while others reflect loss, pain and or sadness. My husband would say during two months leading up to the holidays, his hanky has been filled with the tears he has shed when he reviews my American Express bill! I’m sure many spouses are clinging to their hankies around this time of year as the bank accounts dwindle because of our holiday spending! But, seriously, it’s OK to be vulnerable, it’s OK to shed some tears. It’s very natural during the holiday season, for many of us think about loved ones who have passed away and the special memories and moments we experienced with them. It’s a tough time, no doubt! But know that you’re not alone. It’s fully permissible to allow yourself moments to reflect on and even Mourn.
Shedding tears is necessary in life, not to mention, needed! Jesus himself wept when his friend Lazarus died. He was so sad! And Jesus’ mother, Mary shed many tears as she watched her son go through so much pain and anguish and in the end, a public (and humiliating) death on a cross. When King David’s infant son died, we read about the terrible anguish that overcame him. There are countless examples in the Bible about people who experienced tremendous grief. Sadness is a feeling- which is an adjective that describes how one feels at a specific moment in time. That means we can and should embrace that feeling and process the emotions that come with it, but we don’t give permission for sadness to “move in.” Remember, there is “a time for everything under the sun…” There’s “a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to be angry” etc. The holidays are a challenging time of the year, but you have to push through. Sitting in sadness too long can easily become dangerous and even toxic. If nursed too long, sadness can evolve into depression which leads to a victim-mentality and soon after, isolation. This is unhealthy. We didn’t read about Jesus crying all the time or mourning losses all throughout the Bible. We read that he experienced sadness and loss but he kept moving. He didn’t allow loss and sadness to define his life, on the contrary, he taught others how to live victoriously. Some of us allow our pain to dictate our joy, perspective and ultimately, the protectory of our lives. We get stuck.
My encouragement to you this holiday season is to embrace the beauty, sights, sounds and fragrances around you. Grab your hanky, dry your tears away as you allow your heart to take a MOMENT to acknowledge loss BUT embrace what God is giving to you TODAY. If we allow ourselves to stare into the rear view mirror and stay fixated in a posture of mourning, we will miss out on the greatness right in front of us. We will miss out on relationships, friendships and the life happening all around us right now. Keep your eyes open and your heart receptive so that you can soak up all the goodness that God has in store for you. Merry Christmas friend.