Pastor René Bogue
The holidays can evoke joyful anticipation, happy memories, and childlike wonder.
They can also evoke dread. And amplified loneliness, and unhappy memories, and a fear of unmet expectations.
Because of its rep as “The Most Wonderful Time…”, the holiday season raises the bar on us emotionally. What we say, do, give, and create all take on an enhanced importance, in our own eyes, and sometimes in the eyes of others. Likewise, the time and attention we receive from others is more keenly felt from mid-November through January 1.
Be gentle on yourselves.
In your expectations of yourself, be gentle. Your desire to see eyes light up at the sight of your fabulous turkey, or the perfect gift, is admirable. But, please know that your presence at those tables and tree-sides is what matters most to your loved ones.
In your expectations of the season, be gentle. In my line of work, I sit with families in the fresh aftermath of loss on a regular basis. And I have been on the other side of that table recently. The absence of a loved one during the holiday season is a fresh and tender wound, sometimes even years later. Whether this absence is from death or life’s path, it is keenly felt. With the constant reminders everywhere you look, it just doesn’t work to “treat it like any other day.” But, do treat yourself gently as you pass through. Understand you are not alone.
Above all, please know you are loved. My prayer for all who struggle through this season is just that. That you will know, to the depths of your soul, that the Lord loves you deeply, and is as near as your next breath. May you feel that presence all the way through to the New Year, and may that knowledge permeate enough to make these days, truly, wonderful.