I've been thinking a lot about a phrase you hear often from adults this time of year, "I've just got to get through the holidays." For kids, Christmas is a time of huge excitement and wonder and anticipation. For adults, real life can often set in and it easily can become a time of stress, frustration, and even dread. I think a lot of times that comes from loss- of a loved one especially. We know so many people who are celebrating Christmas through the feeling that someone is missing, or remembering a pregnancy that ended in loss instead of celebration. That is so hard, as we know first hand, since this is our second Christmas (third, really, if you count the time that she was unresponsive in the hospital) that we celebrate without my mom. Just this week, we have a family member who is thinking of a birthday where their parent "would have been" a certain age, and as we were leaving church on Sunday, we saw a teenage girl sitting near a headstone among the poinsettias that belonged to her mother who committed suicide recently. That's hard enough to see on any day, but seems especially hard and unfair at Christmas time.
Because of that, I wanted to share a few resources we've found that have helped us related to grief. I hope that they can or have already helped you as well, or that you can pass them on to someone. Here are some blog posts written by others with helpful suggestions if someone you know is grieving:
-Practical ways to serve a family that is grieving.
-How to help your grieving friend.
And here are some excellent books that can be a resource to you and a friend! We recommend reading it for yourself and then giving it to them as a gift. I promise it will be helpful!
For a clear view of what heaven is and is not: Heaven by Randy Alcorn is one of the most excellent books out there. I started reading it immediately after Mom died, and it was just too much to take in, I want to go back and finish it. It would be a
Jesus doesn't promise us that life will be easy, or that even acceptance of him as our savior will instantly grant us a free pass around suffering. That's hard to know and harder sometimes to live out. But what we do know, and what we are promised is that a reunion with those precious loved ones is waiting for us in heaven, if our trust for salvation is in Christ. And we know too that at that time every tear is wiped away as only God is able to do. In the meantime, we can trust our loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing heavenly father to walk with us through the days we're not sure we can bear on our own. I'm so thankful I don't have to!