Tonight, the Countdown to Christmas begins on the Hallmark Channel. Beautiful stories of faith, hope, and love, wrapped in song, glitter and lights to share traditions and heartwarming messages as families and friends celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Each unique movie chooses some special aspect of this holiday season to explore and expand on to engage the audience and impact the heart.
Last year I was struck by how many of the new movies tackled the intricate and diverse emotions and ramifications widows face this time of year. Others portrayed other characters trying to figure out how to navigate the holidays after losing someone special in their lives. Sometimes (honestly, most of the time) I find myself with tears running down my face through the whole movie.
Even if they bring tears, I usually find some semblance of hope, a different perspective I didn’t see before, or at least a sense I’m not so alone or different. I find these movies help me keep my heart open. They help me look at my open wounds and find ways to apply some healing ointment.
This was always a very special season for my husband and I. Remembering how our Savior gave up His glorified body and deity to become human just like we are so He could give His life as a sacrifice for our sin is the greatest love story of all time. Christmas is about resounding hope for a brighter future. It’s time for families to take time to come together and celebrate the joys of life.
Since my husband went home to Heaven, this has been my hardest season. Everything that made it so special when I got to share it with him, now makes my heart hurt because I don’t have him here to celebrate it with. I just passed his third birthday in Heaven.
The first Christmas without him I was planning and doing his memorial services. I put up my tree, but life was such a blur at that time, nothing seemed real. I wasn’t even home on Christmas because I was traveling to the last memorial service. I spent the day driving alone. I thought I would get a turkey dinner when I stopped for the night, but I was too tired and just went to bed.
The last two Christmases I couldn’t bring myself to put up my tree. That second one was in the midst of the covid lockdowns so family didn’t want to get together. Last year was a little better, but I still ended up spending it alone.
This Christmas I really want to be able to get out the decorations and feel like I’m part of the world again. God is healing my heart and I’m making some new friends. I’m learning to adapt to this unwanted reality by turning my focus to find a meaningful purpose for my life moving forward.
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak Whispers the o’re-fraught heart, and bids it break. – William Shakespeare
I think we were taught to believe if we can make sense of loss or tragedy, it can’t keep hurting us. I don’t think loss or tragedy make sense. They are simply a given because we live in a world where sin also lives. The consequence of sin is death. God never intended us to live in a world where sin was. Because we do, God sent Jesus to die for our sin and to bring life.
We can turn our hurt and all the chaos that comes with the loss of our husband and give it over to God. Jesus tells us to cast our cares on Him because He cares about us.
Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5: 7
God will take our situation and find the good in it. He will supernaturally bring hope and healing. He created us and He knows all the intricacies of our lives to fashion it for His glory and our good. His ways are beyond comprehension.
So we are convinced every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. Romans 8: 28
Our grief grows out of the soil of unwanted separation. With God, we find healing in the midst of the sorrow and new purpose to propel us forward. It won’t erase the ache, or the uncomfortable and burdensome feelings when we long to share new experiences with our late husband, but with time we learn to manage those thoughts and feelings a little easier. The tough reality snuggles up against us and we learn to control it, and hopefully we don’t let it manipulate us.
You’ve kept track of all my wandering and my weeping. You’ve stored my many tears in Your bottle—not one will be lost. For they are all recorded in Your book of remembrance. Psalm 56: 8
I’ve learned to let the tears come when they need to. Tears are not our enemy. They are precious to God. They are often warranted as we keep pressing toward the finish line in a world so thoroughly broken.
I pray this holiday brings hope and new life for all my Hope Sisters. Wherever we find ourselves in this journey, may we experience the comforting love of family and friends who take the time to notice our pain and choose to support us with encouragement, love and understanding. May their gift provide the cushion of protection and reinforcement we need to embrace our new future with courage and strength.
May God smile on each of us and shower His blessings and grace, while drawing us ever closer to His healing love. May we find joy and peace. I hold each of you in my prayers as we embark once again through the season of miracles.
Looking for a way you can make a difference and give back this holiday season? Embrace the spirit of giving by participating in Hope for Widows Foundation’s third annual ‘Bring Hope’ virtual program that directly assists a widow’s family who cannot provide gifts for their children or other necessities during this holiday season. Some widows who are struggling to make ends meet during this time simply do not have the luxury of purchasing gifts when their finances require them to choose between keeping the lights on and food on the table or purchasing presents. Add in the factors of solo parenting, grief, and the emotional and physical toll it takes. If you would like more details on how you can support a widow and her family, please EMAIL US directly for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or to sponsor, go here for details and to fill out the application: https://linktr.ee/hopeforwidows