A few weeks ago, a dear friend and media guru extraordinaire, Sandra Beck, encouraged me to write something about comfort for Christmas. She was recently on Fireside Talk Radio with encouragement for single moms who have it really tough this time of year. She gets it that people are hurting; I love her heart.
During such a joyous season, many people suffer quietly because their families are not what they expected. They miss someone they loved. Now of course, with my mom’s passing only days before Christmas, my perspective has shifted yet again.
Comfort for Christmas; Celebrating Slowly
Some stories stands out over my years of writing. One such story I entitled Celebrating Slowly. In 2010, a dear mom, Lori Kerns, met me at the school where she taught and generously shared her story. She wanted me to see the way she placed her daughter Emily’s red tennis shoes outside her classroom door to remind her students to “Put your best foot forward.” That was only a year after a car accident ended Emily’s life.
“She was very much a girly-girl and a tomboy all the at the same time; cowboy boots one day and spiked high-healed pumps the next day,” said Kern, remembering Emily’s gift for shopping and expressing her personality.
Filling the Empty Space with Comfort
I meet a lot of folks in my work, but Lori stuck out for me. Maybe it was her courage or the depth of her grief. It’s funny how comfort comes back around, though. In this moment of my own deep grief, I want to acknowledge the beauty of the mother-daughter combo exemplified in Lori and Emily. We never lose the space in our heart that our loved ones filled, but in some twisted, intangible way Lori’s story comforts me, knowing there are young people in heaven. Mom always liked hanging out with the younger crowd. That doesn’t make Lori’s pain all right, it just takes a slight edge off mine in some weird way. Right now, I’ll take any comfort I can get.
Fun Folks at the East Gate
If you happened to attend Paul Chance’s funeral, you know Paul Powell instructed the fun people to go to the east gate of heaven. Okay, maybe I am misquoting him, but that’s what I’ve been telling my family and friends ever since. The party’s at the east gate; if you think heaven is quiet, you might want to head in a different direction.
The Sacred in Relationship
At Christmas time, Christians celebrate Jesus’ supernatural, exceptional life. No one but God has the imagination or power to choose to give up the divine aspect of eternity and enter this world in human form as an infant. Jesus died and rose from the dead. In doing so, He prepared a way for us to join Him in heaven. In Jesus’ words we find wisdom of such spiritual depth that even those who reject Him still acknowledge His status as a teacher of truth. He reaches out to us, desiring in His eternal heart to form a sacred relationship with each of us, if we but choose to respond.
I hope you are not grieving quietly this holiday. But if you are, please know that you are not alone. Comfort is often as simple as letting someone else know you hurt. Or, it can be found in the comfort we offer others. Perhaps a hot meal or small donation can make your heart lighter. Maybe a quick phone call to tell someone you love them. Why not offer a well-chosen gift to a long lost friend?
Fellowship in Suffering
Fellowship in our suffering is an important part of the life we live on this earth. While it may hurt to grieve, it also opens our hearts in an oddly healthy way. Eventually, grief allows us to offer a word that may circle around to someone else many years later. This doesn’t make us miss our loved one less, but it unites us in a uniquely healing way. I hope your Christmas is merry, even if you celebrate slowly this year.
More Comfort for Christmas on Fireside Talk Radio
For any moms out there who are facing Christmas alone, we created the “Strong and Single” series on Fireside Talk Radio. I hope you will look for the podcasts of my recent interviews with marvelous media gal Sandra Beck. In Divorce/ When is Enough Enough?, Sandra shares how her marriage broke down into divorce, yet she emerged her family’s champion. Then, in How to be Your Family’s Champion this successful professional woman gives us tips for how to excel at mom-hood, even if you or someone you love is going it alone.
More about my sweet mom
To read more of my mom’s perspective on business and community, go to Orbit Land Services for the article I wrote about her a few months ago. (Sorry the picture is still crooked, but she’s so darn cute in it anyway.)
May I pray for you?
Father in heaven, we celebrate Christmas because Your Son became Immanuel, God with us. And yet, it is so difficult for some who feel alone during the holidays. Our emotions overwhelm us all sometimes, especially this time of year. Please comfort this beautiful one with Your own Presence. Make us aware that you are ever near to us, always wanting to take us into Your embrace because Your heart loves us with sacred love. In our tears, we turn our hearts to You and cry out, “Abba, Father!” We expose our grief to You for Your gentle and tender healing. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
I want to hear from you.
What have you learned through grief? When you hurt, what comforts you best?
Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Host, focusing on fellowship in Christian Marriage and Family, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.