Friday, December 21, 2012

Healing for the Holidays: Part 4 – A Lament for Your Loss

Does My Holiday Loss Count?

I've received a batch of emails in response to this series. One theme is: “Does my holiday grief count?” One person asked, “I haven’t lost a loved one, but because of a divorce, half the holidays I don’t even see my children. Is it still okay to grieve over that?” Another friend asked, “My adult kids live in Europe and I rarely see them for the holidays. Is that a reason to grieve?”

In writing God’s Healing for Life’s Losses (, I wanted to communicate that every loss, every separation is a mini-casket experience. Each loss is a reminder of the ultimate loss of death. That is not to say that every loss is of the same magnitude. It is simply to recognize the reality that all loss hurts because every loss is a separation, a tearing away of what was meant to be together.

Yes, your loss counts. Most importantly, your loss counts to God. That’s why He invites you, like He did the saints of old, to lament your loss. Today, let’s ponder six practical principles of lamenting holiday loss—whatever shape or size your loss takes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Healing for the Holidays: Part 3 – Q&A About Holiday Honesty

I appreciate friendships that are secure enough for “push-back.” Someone who lovingly says, “Bob, I get what you’re saying, but what about...?” Today, I want to give voice to four possible “push-backs” on Part Two: Give Sorrow Words. Consider these as Q/A about just how honest should we be around the holidays.

Push-Back # 1: “But Doesn't Everyone Handle Grief Differently?”

Absolutely. Everyone handles grief differently. There’s no one typical response to grief, and there’s no one universally “correct” path toward healing for the holidays. Healing is a journey— a personal journey with God and we all take unique twists and turns on our journey.

Your timing will be different from mine. Your way will be different from your relatives. We can’t force anyone else, or even ourselves, onto a certain timetable or a one-size-fits-all plan.

That said, good research and caring engagement with people consistently shows that “denial” is a very common initial response to grief. And initially, it can even be a grace of God that allows our minds and bodies to slow down long enough to survive the horrors of our loss.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Healing for the Holidays: Part 2 – Give Sorrow Words

C. S. Lewis famously wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Loss always hurts, and holidays are like a megaphone magnifying that pain. Or, for our generation, like the volume control on your IPod—holidays can intensify and heighten the pain.

In Part One, we saw Jesus and Paul giving us permission to grieve. Now we ask, “But what do I do with my hurt during the holidays?” Shakespeare said, “Give sorrow words.” God’s Word models that principle—we need to move from denial to candid honesty about the hurt that holiday memories can bring.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Dreams | 12 Ways of Christmas for the Grieving

Last night, I dreamed that God resurrected my beautiful son, Darnell. But morning renewed my mourning for him: Christmas trees, snow globes, and music greeted my grieving heart. Relate?

Christmas arrives like a pretty package full of grief triggers: Empty chairs, missing faces, and silent voices seem to haunt the holidays.