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When The Holidays Aren't Holly & Jolly

I remember vividly coming home from school to my mom telling me grandma wouldn't make it through the night. I still feel the chill of the blizzard we fought on that back country road to get to the hospital to see her one last time. I remember the way my dad knelt by my bed the next morning to tell me she was gone. I still hear the shocked silence at my cousin's dining room table as we tried to process the reality that we would not see her again.

My grandma died on December 22, 2012. That was not a merry Christmas. And that’s ok.

The holidays can be hard. It's a reality no one likes to talk about. Yes we are celebrating the birth of Christ and yes the twinkling lights are very pretty, but the holidays can still be hard.

Life can be rough. And it doesn’t cease to be just because it happens to be December. It’s ok to mourn. It’s ok to be lonely. It’s ok to be homesick. Your Christmas doesn’t have to look like a Hallmark movie or a Good Housekeeping magazine.

December 25th is a special day, but it's still a day like any other. A day where bad things can and do happen. Bad news gets delivered. Spouses fight. Expectations aren't met. People sit by themselves under a sparsely decorated tree. That's life. That's real.

If this is a rough Christmas season for you, it’s ok. There is no pressure to make this season holly and jolly if that's not where you are right now.

But also know this: there is still a God that loves you. There is still a God that will meet you in your sorrow, in your mourning, in your loneliness, in your shattered expectations, in your desperation, in your disappointment. There is a living, loving God who promises to meet you there.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10
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