Some holidays hurt, and the pain prevents us from celebrating. It is hard to throw confetti when a vice clutches your heart.
I get it.
Most holidays are complicated for me, and I used to shuffle through them with a fake smile to pretend I was okay. Faking it allowed me to get through the day but prevented me from being present and genuinely celebrating.
Holidays are still hard, but nowadays, I try to be fully present and have joyful celebrations.
When holidays hurt, here are three ways to joyfully celebrate anyway.
1) Grieve it. Whatever it is, let yourself cry.
On Saturday night, Anthony and I went out to dinner. There was a dad and a daughter in the booth behind my husband. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but my husband could. The crunch of the chips and salsa prevented me from hearing their conversation, and my husband blocked my view, which was fine with me.
But then, Anthony got up to go to the restroom, giving me a full view of the booth behind me, and we were out of chips. So, I watched as the dad urged his middle school-aged daughter, who was sad and crying, to come to his side of the booth. I watched her nestle in his arms as he held her and rubbed her tear-stained cheeks. He whispered words of assurance, telling her everything would be okay, and she started to smile again. He hugged her and put his arm around her as they left.
Anthony returned to see my tear-stained cheeks. I cried most of the way home.
2) Put words and Truth to the pain.
Some of the words I said to Anthony, but most were to LG (the little girl inside of me).
I wanted and should have experienced protection.
I needed and should have been comforted.
I longed for and deserved safety where it was supposed to be safe.
I could go on, but you get the picture. I expressed the pain, and then I sealed it with Truth.
God is my protector. The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1 NLT
He comforts me. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 1 Corinthians 1:3 NLT
He keeps me safe. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.Psalm 4:8 NLT
He is a good, good Father, and I can nestle in His arms as He collects my tears in His bottle.
He is with me always. His love is everlasting, and He is always safe.
3) Appreciate what you have and be fully present to celebrate it.
I had my good cry. I said what hurt and sealed it with the Truth of God, who relieves all my pain and suffering. Next, I shifted my focus to gratitude. I was thankful for my husband and others who have modeled what should have been. Some were strangers, like the man in the restaurant and the man on the plane from our trip to Mexico that I wrote about in my book Journey Pink. They both gave me up close and personal examples of what I needed.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
We celebrated and spent the day together. I put my phone away and stayed engaged and fully present.
Were there hard moments? Yes!
Did I still struggle? Yes!
- Healing is messy, and holidays don’t have to be perfect or look perfect. Cry or take a break if you need to. Pay attention to what you need and take care of yourself.
- Healing also takes time. My holidays were filled with angst when I was knee-deep in counseling and pain.
- Healing is worth it. Yesterday, I had moments of sadness, but thankfully I fell asleep with joy and hope.
God is still writing my story, and He is writing yours too.
The holidays may always be challenging, but thankfully God is always faithful. He meets us in the heartache and carries our burdens. We are never alone.
He is a good, good Father.
Have you read Journey PINK: The Story of a Princess In Need of a King?
THANK YOU so much! I appreciate you.
You can find out more about Journey PINK here: Journey PINK: The Story of a Princess In Need of a King by Michelle Viscuse
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