It’s arrived. The Holiday of holidays for many. The month-long season of excitement, fun and anticipation.

But there is another perspective on the Christmas season, and it’s not one of joy and family. For many, it brings memories of long-past years, when they too had their special loved one with them. When together they readied their home – putting out all the decorations and cooking all the favorites of the family. Together they had braved the elements, and I’m not referring only to the cold weather. The inevitable Christmas rush in the stores was as much to be dreaded as the ice and snow just to get to the store. But it was all worth it. Nothing was going to keep them from having a Christmas to be remembered.

But then.

Life took a turn. Things changed and the following Christmas, and many, many Christmases after became… very different. No longer is it anticipated as the highlight of the year. In fact, what once was a fun sparkling celebration is now coated in shades of dull gray, as so many painfilled memories are tied to this particular season.

“It’s time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” “Get out and go shopping and enjoy the lights and excitement.” “Quit wallowing in the past, and force yourself to look forward to the future that Jesus gave you when He came to be born at Christmas.” And so many more well-meaning phrases that are tossed in the pathway of the grieving. Phrases that usually hit a six-foot thick blank wall of nothingness.

Friends and family members hurt badly when they see a loved one who is lost in their grief, unable to find their way out of that black maze where they are living. And they will earnestly attempt to motivate and rationalize, all in an effort to help bring life back to dull eyes, and a spring into the steps that are now dragging thru life. Trying to get that loved one to begin enjoying life again.

If you have ever loved someone, then most probably you have experienced some of the above. Either as the one who has lost someone, or as the one who desperately is trying to help the hurting.

The Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time and season for everything, and that includes a time of grieving. And each of us does this on our own timetable. So, if the grief is yours, grieve. But know there is a time when it will begin to lessen. And if you are the faithful friend who is desperate wanting to help, be patient, loving and prayerful. Be there.

Grief is a part of life, and it very often colors and discolors the holidays that follow, sometimes for an extended while. But don’t give up. Don’t assume that this is the way that the hopeless emotion of grieving is the way life is going to be until the day you die.

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