The Christmas season is such an important time. My husband and I loved this season because it is filled with hope, giving thanks, and spreading joy. We sing about peace on earth. We spend time with family and friends making memories and cherishing our past celebrations. We find ways to bless others and give of ourselves to kindle the light of merriment and joy all around us.
When we are missing someone important to us grief can try to steal our joy. The death of our husband can shake the very foundation of our existence and impact us both mentally and physically. Grief can consume our thoughts and trigger waves of sadness and yearning. Sometimes it causes us to feel alone and vulnerable. It can be hard to engage with others, especially when it seems like we will only put a damper on others happiness as they focus on all the different celebrations the holidays bring. We might have trouble seeing the good things around us.
My first Christmas alone was only weeks after my husband moved to Heaven. The first celebration of his life was a week before Thanksgiving. The second was the Saturday before Christmas and the last one was the Saturday after. About the only thing I remember about that holiday was forcing myself to keep going. I focused on what everyone else involved needed.
I found the song, The Sweetest Gift, featuring Craig Aven, from The Piano Guys that first Christmas. I bet I listened to it over a hundred times. I don’t know if you’ve heard this Christmas song. It makes me cry every time I hear it. It also brings healing to my heart.
What is the sweetest gift? The chorus goes like this…
You’re with the Son of God
You’re with the Prince of Peace
You’re with the one who’s celebrating
And that thought amazes me
Sometimes I still break down
Grieving that we’re apart
But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are
You’re with the Son of God
The sweetest gift is remembering we are all only here on earth for a short moment in time. Death for the believer in Christ’s gift of salvation is a doorway to our mansion in heaven. When we leave this world tainted with sin and sorrow, we begin our journey to eternity where there is no more pain, sorrow, sickness, or sin. We will see our beautiful Savior face to face and live as brothers and sisters with Him like God intended in the very beginning.
Beloved brothers and sisters, we want you to be quite certain about the truth concerning those who passed away, so you won’t be overwhelmed with grief like many others who have no hope. For if we believe Jesus died and rose again, we also believe God will bring with Jesus those who died while believing in Him. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14
We can look for and find joy in this holiday and all the time. Our connection to our loved one does not live in our pain. It lives in our love for them. The grief we feel at the loss of their physical presence is real. It’s perfectly normal to miss them, think about the special times we had, and be sad we can’t share our new experiences with them. Our grief and our love for our husband we lost will always live fully and deeply alongside our joy.
I think I’ve finally put the despair to rest and came to terms with the questions and pain… and markers in time, or triggers out of nowhere, send me spiraling back into the darkness and deafening silence. I remind myself God is with me. I ask Him to help me. I snap back more quickly, trusting God more deeply because He is so consistent in His love and compassion. My faith is strengthened. My gratitude to God for His patience and persistent pursuit of me in spite of my weakness and lapse in judgment grows ever deeper. We keep pressing forward and when we stumble, we let our precious Heavenly Father pick us up and we try again.
We can be present with the grief, and practice being open to joy. It’s okay to be happy. It’s okay to find joy in living. We honor our love for our husband when we take care of ourselves. He would want us to be happy. If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t you want him to find joy in living and making the most of the time he had?
How do you do it? Make time to do things you love, and give yourself permission to feel good again. Treat yourself with kindness and patience. Celebrate even small victories and be your best cheerleader. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you. Invest in the things you need to help you feel back in control.
Most of all, I give each day to God and ask Him to direct my steps. He knows better than I do what will stoke the flames of joy and bring peace and happiness back to my life. I thank Him for His promises and His provision.
Finally, some of the greatest joy is found in giving to others. Giving to others takes the focus off ourselves and revives our concern about others. It opens our eyes to be content with what we have when we realize some needs others face. It’s a great way to thank God for all He provides for us in so many ways. God says we can heal both our body and soul when we nurture a joyful, cheerful heart.
A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression. Proverbs 17: 22
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