Hurting During the Holidays

By Jay Fennell

The holiday season is a joyous and heart-warming time for celebrating the birth of Jesus, continuing meaningful Christmas traditions, and spending time with the people we love the most…our families. If you’re like me, you can’t wait for the family to assemble, to enjoy fellowship around the table, the giving of gifts, and the making of memories. It’s all so exciting!

But amidst the multitude of people who embrace the holidays and look forward with anticipation to all that come with them, there are people who are hurting because their loved ones aren’t here any longer. For many, the holidays are looked upon with dread because they only magnify the grief and pain they feel over the loss of a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a parent, a friend or a neighbor. They hurt because their holiday memories and experiences are attached to that loved one. Every significant and meaningful Christmas experience was celebrated alongside the one they loved. And now they’re gone. And now the motivation and anticipation for Christmas is gone, too.

What can a LIFE Group do to minister to those who are hurting during the holidays? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be Present. The holidays are busy and that’s one of the reasons people struggle during the holidays. They feel forgotten and alone. The busier everyone else is, the more alone they feel. Be sensitive to this and be present with them as much as you can. Connect with them via text message or email or phone call. Take them to lunch. Give special attention to them, especially those whose loss is so fresh. Your presence may have a healing effect on them.
  • Be Prayerful. Pray FOR them, that God would grant them a peace that surpasses all understanding and that their holiday season would be filled with warm, new memories that contribute to their healing. Consider praying WITH them, that God would grant them comfort in their sorrow. Interceding on behalf of a LIFE Group member who has lost a loved one is one of the most important things you can do. Send them a card and tell them you remember them and are praying for them.
  • Be Sensitive. As you’re planning parties and family get-togethers and describing the joy that you will experience through those occasions, be sensitive to the ones who may not be experiencing the same excitement as you. I’m not saying to temper your excitement as not to make someone else feel bad. I’m saying to show a godly discernment in talking about those things that takes into account the person’s pain and hurt.
  • Be Proactive. Reach out to them. Initiate and ask if there’s anything you can do that will make a significant difference to them during the holidays. What can you provide that would impact them and bring comfort to them during the season? A meal? Flowers?

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