One of the most rewarding parts of my life these days includes leading the GriefShare ministry at my church. Nationwide, thousands of churches have participated in this amazing program that helps hurting people along their grief journey.
Recently, we sponsored a one-time event focused on Surviving the Holidays. Like the "regular" GriefShare program, those mourning a loss of a loved one assembled to watch a video chocked full of healing testimonies, advice and strategies for moving from sorrow to joy. Renown experts in psychology, counseling and grief shared time-tested truth about the grief process.
Remarkably, each of our participants began the evening by expressing their trepidation about facing Christmas without their loved one. After sharing our burdens with each other, prayer, and the helpful information in the video, most of us felt better, expressed our appreciation for God's comfort, and moved a bit farther down the road of healing.
Grief happens when great love is lost. Without a deep connection to the person who left us, there would be no mourning. The key is make our lives a celebration of these important relationships. While loss is difficult, we can allow the light these dear ones shined in our lives to continue bringing us joy through memories.
For the Christian, we know the loss is only temporary. One day, Christ will gather us home and wipe away every tear from our eyes. Those who also knew Him as their savior will be safely in the care of Jesus waiting to rejoice with us.
One way we can honor our loved ones who have gone before us is to focus our energy on loving others to the Lord. How proud will be our "great cloud of witnesses" if we lead a friend, relative or perfect stranger to Jesus? They will rejoice knowing another name is written down in glory as a result of our yielding to the prompt of the Holy Spirit.
What can we do? Christmas is a golden opportunity to share the Gospel with our neighbors, coworkers and loved ones. Gifts can include helpful books, a special meal, or an invitation to your church activities. Take the time to invest in those around you. Make it clear that you are doing so because of your love for them in the Lord.
If you have a few sad moments this Christmas, embrace God's healing through gratitude. Thank Him for sending you such a precious gift as your loved one and trust that He will make it all worthwhile very soon. May you have a very merry Christmas and your best ever New Year in the care of Jesus.
To learn more about GriefShare and to locate a group in your area, check out https://www.griefshare.org.