Dear Lydia: Grieving through the holidays

Written by  "Dear Lydia" Thursday, 06 December 2012 05:29

Dear Lydia,

I am a 45 year old single woman. I have been a disciple for 18 years and normally I am very happy and active in many activities in the church as well as in the community. This has been a hard year for me because my mother died in April and I have had some financial setbacks and health problems.

I am disappointed with myself because I am just not in a holiday mood this year.

I don’t want to participate in our congregation’s parties or even in the outreach activities for children. Usually I am one of the first to volunteer and I love these opportunities! My roommates and other friends are trying to get me in the mood and are inviting me to things--but I just don’t want to do anything.

Help me, Lydia. How can I get my Christmas Spirit back?

Bah humbug,

Dear Sister,

You sound like the kind of woman that congregational leaders are grateful to have in their fellowship. Women like you are often the heart and action behind many church functions. What would we do without our “Marthas” with a “Mary” heart?

Now that I’ve said all that, I want to tell you to give yourself a break! You are obviously grieving for your mother and needing to have some time to recuperate from your own illnesses and life struggles!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Christmas is a man-made holiday. It is a holiday that is a wonderful opportunity for us as followers of Christ to celebrate his birth, but in my opinion it is an exceptionally great time to reach out to the lost world around with all the parties and charitable events. It is a time that many people acknowledge Christ, and so often it can be a time for us to speak and share the whole story of Christ.

However, the Bible does not require us to participate in every activity that comes our way. Perhaps this holiday season is a time for you to heal. It is not a sin to choose not to attend social gatherings--but to rather spend some time in solitude with the Lord. It is not a sin to not be involved in charitable events--but instead to allow yourself time to rest, mend and heal--spiritually and physically.

The loss of a parent is devastating to most of us. Our parents are our first connection in this life--especially our mothers. Whether we had a good or bad relationship with them (for most of us it is a complicated mixture) we must take time to grieve and accept the death. Please allow yourself to do that. “First” holidays after a loved one’s death are hard for most of us.

So, Sister--you are not a Scrooge. You just need some healing from a rough year. Give yourself some time. If after the one-year anniversary of your mother’s death you are still in a funk, you might need some further help. But my expectation is that you will start to be your lively self again and get back in the volunteer and holiday spirit!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

Love, Lydia

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