Honoring life and death in our Christmas celebrations

By From the Heart | Geralyn Nathe-Evans | Together We Journey

Dec 23

Are you missing a beloved family member or friend this Christmas season? Do you miss the years with those dear to you?

When family and friends gather this year, we may be missing some special loved ones. How we gather and celebrate may have our joy and celebrations with a touch of sadness, or waves of grief. Our hearts may ache for those we are missing, those who have died.

Charles Dickens once said, “There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not what is used to be.” He responded, “Never heed such dismal reminiscences.” A Christmas Carol was born and has become part of many of our Christmas traditions. In Charles Dickens play, we see a family gathering, very much missing their beloved child. Missing the family they so loved and enjoyed. In the presence of their pain, they find joy and celebrate the memory of Tiny Tim.

We, too, may desire to find joy and celebration in this season of great love. As we recognize the birth of our Savior and God’s great love for us, we may need to balance our feelings of sadness and joy.

It is important to recognize the loss and well as present moments of joy. While we may not like the place we are in, we are here in this place of time and it is our reality. When loved ones have died, we find ourselves in a place we did not choose, with a loss we do not like.

There are some ways that may provide you some support and healing in this holiday season.

If you are experiencing the death of a loved one, it may be of help to recognize and name that loss. It can be helpful to the bereaved as well as those around us to name out loud what we are aware of in our gatherings. To say to others that we are happy to gather but missing __________(name) can be of great care. Naming our beloved may bring a smile to us as well as a tear or wave of sadness.

Tell the stories and share the memories. While we cannot bring back those who have died, we can surround ourselves with the memories and good feelings of our relationships. Recalling Christmas’ past can be joyful. Try to avoid becoming bitter and complaining of what is past. Rather, recall with gratitude the wonderful lives who have been part of our living and memories.

We cannot bring back the past, but we can live into the future with hope and love.

Christmas is a time to celebrate our lives and our eternal life as well.  May your Christmas be blessed with memories of love and joy-of Christmas past and Christmas present!

Believe n Love, Geralyn

Geralyn Nathe-Evans has been called to the vocations of wife, mom, Lay Ecclesial Minister, nurse and friend.

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Mike Kjelland December 24, 2019

Thank you Geralyn, such a comforting reading for all of us with Empty Chairs during this season.

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