When the Holidays Hurt (Part 2)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

At least….that’s what the songs will tell you. But when life throws blow after blow, the holiday season can just make the ache you were already feeling intensify. And maybe this year, there’s a knot in your stomach in the place where that “holly jolly” feeling usually resides.

My now typical dread of the holiday season started early this year. After not getting to see my family for 2 whole years, we finally got to gather for Thanksgiving.

We had barely been there for a day when a positive COVID test made a visit.

My husband is medically fragile at best, and he had already been having some other (unrelated) health issues including a 105 degree fever. So, instead of staying the full 5 days with everyone, we booked an early flight back home.

Thankfully, everyone is fine, but I was still devastated. And in that devastation, I was once again reminded that the holidays can hurt.

This is a topic I’ve written on before. And since I filled the rest of my Thanksgiving “vacation” with endless Marvel movies, it felt like this was the year for a sequel to that post to include all the things that help get me through this time of year:

You can be two things

It’s very easy to feel out of place when you’re hurting at Christmastime. But one thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that two seemingly opposite things can be true at the same time:

You can experience unspeakable joy while in unthinkable pain.

You can find an island oasis of peace while swimming through chaos.

You can still hope even when you’ have no idea how things are going to get better.

None of these things are mutually exclusive. They don’t cancel each other out.

This Christmas, see what it feels like to hold both of them at the same time. Because the most important thing to remember this time of year is….

Advent is for the hurting

Advent is the time leading up to Christmas. As a kid, it was all about getting that next piece of chocolate from the doors on the advent calendar.

As an adult, it’s a reminder that God sent His son directly to the hurting.

So, skip a Christmas party if the pain is too much. Unplug the lights if you need a break. But know that this time of year is for the hurting. It’s for the lonely. It’s for those who are so heartbroken that you’re not sure how you’ll make it into the new year.

Christmas is for you.

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