Guest post by: Carter Wright
Before you begin reading this, I want to take the time to tell you that you are not alone and that you might be wired for failure and shame - but you are worthy of belonging and you are worthy of being loved. There have been many mornings in my life where I wake up, make my coffee, look in the mirror, and tell myself those words that were passed along to me in an extremely difficult season of my life. It seems like around Christmas time, I am telling myself those words more as I get older.
For many, Christmas time is what they would consider “the most wonderful time of the year.” We have all heard the carols joyfully telling the stories of the stockings that are hung by the chimney with care and the lights that twinkle off of the ornaments that are just as carefully put up as they are put away when the season is over.
However, there are many this season that will look underneath “thy lovely branches” and will see that there are fewer gifts than last year, one less smiling face, or an empty chair at the dinner table. For these people, it is the most painful and difficult time of the year.
For some of you, it might have been a death in the family, a shattered marriage, an empty nest, or the loss of a relationship. This year I moved away from the home that I knew for all of my life, and with that my family grew older, birthdays passed, family gatherings had an empty chair for me, and some of the most meaningful relationships in my life grew weak and dwindled. I hung up ornaments on my own tree this year that my mother sent me from home. I remember doing this together with her every year, and this year as I was hanging up my most favorite one from my childhood, I sat in the floor of my apartment and just cried.
Take heart in this, even though this is a difficult season, you are not alone. The peace of the Spirit is falling all around you. Find peace in the Holy Spirit knowing that this time will come and go. The best possible thing you can do is to relish and enjoy every single moment possible with the ones you love and who are still with you while honoring those whom you have lost. It is OK if traditions change, it is OK to say “No”, it is OK if you can’t afford it, it is OK to take the time that you need to navigate this difficult season.
Find peace in the words of your Father:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” - 2 Corinthians 4:17
To those of you who are reading this and don’t understand, because this is the most wonderful time of the year for you, let me encourage you. Find and love on the ones who wish this season was over with already. We are called to love the widows, the orphaned, the grieving, the outcasts, the ostracized, and the unloved. Be the light in someone's life this Christmas Season that you would want them to be for you.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:30-31