Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”Psalm 30:5b
“I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief.”C. S. Lewis
Christmas presents us with a paradox. On the one hand Christmas is meant to be a happy time, full of joy, warmth, and promise. Yet those very expectations can bring to the surface times when our hopes were dashed. Perhaps those we used to celebrate with are no longer with us, or maybe past festivities were marred by quarrels, too much drinking, lack, or even abuse. Or maybe we simply feel alone or empty amidst the Christmas hurry. And on top of it all, on yet another Christmas, we need to be mindful of health safety. Much to our disappointment covid is still circulating. One of the essential ways we show love to ourselves, our family and friends is by exercising prudence as we gather. As much as we might want to, we can’t just throw caution to the wind.
All of this can add up to us sometimes feeling displaced in the Christmas landscape. Where do we fit in? Where is the joy that is supposed to be a part of this season? In the face of this we may feel helpless. We may feel angry. We may feel depressed. We may want to blame other people or situations. If we try to belong to Christmas by looking outside of ourselves, we likely will prolong those feelings. Our inner Christ reminds us that feelings are there to bring us messages, not as a punishment of ourselves or others. Being aware of ourselves gives us a very precious opportunity.
It is quite likely, as C.S. Lewis wrote, that if we sit with our helplessness and anger long enough, we will discover that it is covering over deep, painful grief. Grief comes from losing something we need – caring relationships with people that matter to us, a sense of purpose, meaning and value, hope for the future, or the sense that we can manage ourselves no matter what comes. Allowing ourselves to feel the grief – taking it into prayer, talking it over with a trustworthy caring friend or counselor—can begin to bring us into Christmas in a new and satisfying way.
Grief is a blessing for it opens the way for a deeper understanding of, joining into, and valuing of ourselves. Honoring our grief opens space to reflect on what Christmas really means to us. Our reflection creates inner ground to stand on, ground from which we can make choices. We find the courage to choose attitudes and activities that fill us up. We begin to belong more fully to ourselves and to God. And through that we find our place in Christmas and in life. Good Grief!
Christmas Blessings of Christ Love and Light,