For Those Whose Christmas is Not So Merry
Are you weary? Weary of the world not being as it should be. Weary of the exhausting reality of living during a pandemic. Weary of the hustle and bustle of ending a year.
You may be feeling a deeper kind of soul-weariness than this, too.
Weary from grief. Weary from pain. Weary from loss. Weary from hurt. Weary from rejection. Weary from loneliness. Weary from confusion. Weary from a life that just doesn’t look like what you would have chosen.
Are you this kind of weary?
This kind of weary may make the holidays feel more like something to dread than something to celebrate. If you’re not feeling so “merry & bright”, then this is for you.
“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”
This infamous line from the Christmas hymn “O Holy Night” feels like it could be the whole world’s anthem at the end of 2020. There’s so much juxtaposition in its simple words. How does weary co-exist with rejoicing? Where is the thrill of hope?
There is an intense kind of pain that can be unlocked during seasons that are intended to be celebratory. It can feel impossible to pretend like things are normal or okay. It may feel wrong to be happy when you’re overwhelmingly aware of your loss. The days may be tainted by an absent person whose presence should be there. Things may be different, or exactly the same- and maybe that’s the problem. You may be overwhelmed with the sense that you can’t see a way out of the hopelessness you feel in this very moment.
What should be bright may be dimmed by brokenness.
If this is you, hear me and hundreds of years of voices singing out. Even still, there is hope for you.
So what’s an appropriate posture to hold through the holidays?
You’re in pain- things don’t feel merry and bright, and that’s okay.
Many people feel like a cloud over others for not being as happy as they think they should. You’re not ruining anyone’s day or year by acknowledging your struggle. Other’s may not know how to face pain and may try to encourage you out of your feelings. Have empathy that they may not know what they’re doing either. Do your best to process your feelings through journaling or in therapy, and then show up the best way you know how over the days to come.
It does not diminish your loss if you experience moments of happiness.
If you do feel joy for a moment, guilt may immediately follow. Lies sneak in that you were able to forget for a minute. But the truth is, you need some light to find buoyancy to continue the hard work of grief and loss. It’s okay to let yourself feel joy if it comes. It does not mean that your pain or loss is any less important. If anything it strengthens you to be able to continue to look at it and give it the attention that it’s due.
It will not always be this way.
If you’re struggling to find the ability to feel hope for yourself, then I’ll help hold hope for you. I can do this because I know that no matter how dark your days are right now, there is a day coming where there is no pain, sadness, or broken things. What is the hope that the hymn refers to? There is a God who sees you in this very moment. He knows your grief, pain, and suffering. And He has a plan.
This is why rejoicing is possible even among the weary. Joy and sorrow co-exist together. Because while we experience things not as they should be now, we look forward with hope to the things that God has promised.
If you need someone to walk with you through difficult days- giving space to feel what you feel and hold hope for you that is hard to hold for yourself, we’re here. Make an appointment with one of our counselors here.