FOCUS ON THE LIGHT-Keeping a heavenly perspective at Christmas. This time of year, when the world is sparkly and rejoicing, it feels particularly harsh against the shadowy backdrop of this life where my son is gone.
The Christmas season makes the already gaping wounds of child-loss seep and throb. As I try to function like the old me and keep up with the additional stress and demands, the ambush of grief seems to be constant and everywhere. The parades, the parties, the shows, Christmas cards arriving daily, non-stop commercials and the worst, for me- Christmas music. It’s everywhere.
Music used to be the highlight of our Christmas’. Concerts, Church services we participated in, practicing songs with the kids and all of their instruments in our beautiful music room. Our home embodied Christmas through music, which is now one of the most painful parts of the holiday. One I can barely tolerate, and I can’t even pump gas without a Christmas song floating through the speakers. Sometimes I just want to scream and retreat to my bedroom until Jan 3.
Existing as a bereaved parent from November to January feels like a physical and emotional marathon. A chore. One I did not choose and will never be excused from.
My heart physically hurts more than it does other times of year and staying ‘on’ and trying to keep up is exhausting in a way no other time of year is. The world demands the old me and I could not be any further from her this time of year. I’m worn down from trying.
My body and my spirit are weakened and when that happens I tend to fall back into the bottomless pit of why?
Why my son? Why didn’t you save him? Why can’t I have him back? Why do I have to endure this agony year after year after year? Why can’t anyone understand what this is like for me?
It can spin out of control and send me to a dark and awful place I don’t want to go again.
A DIFFERENT SET OF Why?’s
In times like this, as fragile as my faith is and as broken as my trust is, I know I must lean in to my heavenly Father. I have to tune out the world and it’s version of Christmas. I need to hold on, with my last bit of energy, to the hem of His garmet and focus on The Light.
Today I’m considering some different Why?’s
Why am I decorating this tree? Jesus. He is the light of the World and we celebrate His coming with lights and ornaments.
“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. -John 12:46
Why am I wrapping gifts? Jesus was our gift. The Gift above all Gifts. We give them to others in remembrance and to love them as a symbol of how God so loved us.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
Why am I lighting this candle? Lighting a candle is a simple yet profound act I never fully appreciated until I lost my child. A testimony to the power of Light overcoming darkness! Advent is a time of great expectation and candle-lighting. The excitement and yearning for our coming King. Christians take part in advent as a way to celebrate the promise of the Savior, Jesus Christ and all that means to us- eternity with Him and our loved ones, including and especially, our lost children.
I light candles to keep my focus on the coming King and my expectation and yearning for life everlasting. I light candles because it’s comforts me and reminds others of who we are missing.
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” -Isaiah 40:3-5
Child-loss, more than anything else, flips our earthly perspective. One arm is always reaching for eternity and one is always holding on here. We feel a constant tug for home where our child is and less and less a part of this place. The things of this world have less meaning and our tolerance for them and the attitudes of the world is low. Christmas seems to highlight all of this.
I believe one of the many reasons Christmas feels abrasive is because it contrasts so greatly with our hurting hearts, which hold a quiet reverence and awe for our baby savior. We hold onto a desperate Hope that only those who have lost children can truly appreciate.
A baby savior, born in a lowly stable, so someday we will truly rejoice again, eternally with Him.
So that one day I’ll embrace my child and never have to let go again.
This Advent Sunday I light a candle with expectation and with profound gratefullness for our Hope that came through a baby savior.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord.” -Luke 2:11
Thank you for joining me this Christmas season. If you know anyone who may find comfort in reading the words of another bereaved parent, please share. Here are more posts on Christmas after loss of a child.