I truly hope that you are having a lovely Christmas season.
But sometimes, Christmas is just sad. Whether it be broken relationships, loved ones that you wish were still here, broken dreams, single-ness, or broken families, sometimes this time of year is just really hard.
I myself am grieving a loss this Christmas season, and it is harder than I anticipated. I received some good advice from my "friend" Elisabeth Elliot today. I call her a friend because that's what she calls all of her listeners on her show "Gateway to Joy." I listen to her regularly through the BBN app.
Elisabeth said that part of Advent is to be silent. I think we skip that part all too often. I know I do. I go straight from Thanksgiving thoughts to Christmas thoughts without the anticipation, the silence, and the waiting in between.
Sitting in silence is hard for several reasons. Here are the first two:
1) It is hard to schedule the time to be by yourself.
This time of year there's always something to occupy your time- shopping for family, stressing about family, decorating cookies, decorating the home, hosting parties, attending parties, making food for parties,... the list goes on and on. If you wanted to (or even if you just don't pay close enough attention) you could occupy every moment of every day and not have a moment of silence.
2) It's also hard because it is hard to do.
Silence is not easy. Putting your phone away and sitting with your own thoughts is scary. It's lonely. All the feelings come up and they can be strong, too strong sometimes.
But I can tell you that it is worth it. I forced myself to sit in silence this morning.
I made time in my schedule. I put the phone away. I sat with a pen and a journal and my thoughts.
I learned that loneliness, if embraced, can actually become a strength.
Sometimes giving yourself the space to feel the loneliness is all you need. It just needs to be heard and acknowledged. I gave myself permission to be sad, to feel alone. When I came out of that time- I was ready to reconnect. This readiness to reconnect is not forced, but from a place of authenticity. I'm allowing myself to feel all the feelings this season.
You don't have to only always have the feelings that others expect from you.
You don't have to be happy.
You don't have to be sad.
Just let your feelings come and go.
(Remember- feelings WILL come and go. Feelings don't define you, they are clues and cues about you and your situation).
Give yourself the space you need to process them.
Please don't stuff your feelings the way that you are stuffing stockings. Instead, make a quiet space, do what you need to experience and release your feelings, and trust that there is One who has felt that exact feeling before as well, and it's ok.
Take some silence and take good care,
(P.S. If you need help with this, I'd love to help you- click here to reach out. We can sit in the silence together.)