The Gift of Grief

Does this seem like a strange title? It appeared so to me when I wrote it, but it came spontaneously when I thought about the topic of missing our loved ones at times of celebration like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We know that even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. We humans have the unique ability to both remember the past and consider the future. Today, I still miss my parents who left us decades ago. I relish my memories of them and thank God for their Christian witness.

As we approach the holidays, there are several things we can do to face our losses. Research shows that regardless of our specific The Gift of Grief problems, difficult life circumstances often ignite deeper faith [i.e. Psalm 23 – “Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death…Thou art with me.”].

As my wife Karen and I age, we notice that families love to share past mistakes and embarrassments rather than successes. My parents had a ministry of attending visitations to support grieving families. They always included stories of fun and successes as well as sadness.

Intentionally facing grief at holidays can help us and others by providing focus during special events together.

The following activities can be the positive spark for what could be tough times.

  1. Attend an Advent Candle Lighting Ceremony.
  2. List why you are grateful for the person(s).
  3. Reminisce with a great friend.
  4. Go to dinner to celebrate good memories.
  5. Review old photos and find good memories.
  6. Donate a memorial gift or a plant to your church
  7. Make a donation to your favorite charity in honor of the person(s).

Cry frequently, laugh often, and thank God for the person and legacy that means so much to you.


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