By Jennifer Hallmark
Christmas can be a time of great joy or great despair. The holiday season might be packed with activities or spent alone. Circumstances, especially when it comes to loss, whether a loved one, a job, or something personal, can devastate you and pull the life right out of the holidays. From personal experience, I’ve often had to come to a point and make a decision as to how I’ll spend the holidays. It was my choice. Do I celebrate Christmas or despise the holidays?
When facing loss and the holidays, several things enabled our family to enjoy this time to the best of our ability.
(1) We looked at our Christmas traditions and decided what to keep and what to change. Especially in the case of a loved one who has passed away, old traditions can be too hard to bear. After my husband’s mother died, we changed the way we exchanged presents and started a new tradition. We incorporated a game and that small variation helped each of us cope during our regular Christmas Eve celebration.
(2) We can also remember treasured Christmas times of the past. Sharing memories of Christmas long ago with the younger generation may ease the pain associated with loss. Think about some traditions that mean a lot to you. Are you sharing them with your family? Or are there special ways of celebrating Christmas that you would like to incorporate into your family’s activities? Why not start this year?
(3) We enjoyed Christmas events in the church and community. Attending a Christmas concert or parade proved a pleasant way to spend an evening. We enjoy shopping in the mall, just to enjoy the beautiful decorations. The children and now grandchildren love to ride through the neighborhood and look at the decorated houses at night. Consider ways to bless someone during this season. (And a blessing doesn’t have to be money or gifts).
Our family waits in anticipation for several Christmas specials on television and every year I dig out The Christmas Carol and watch it again. We decorate the house with snowmen and work together to decorate the tree.
Remember, God gave us His Son on Christmas and we need to celebrate this special time of year. Let’s all celebrate Jesus. There is a reason for the season! What will you do to make Christmas special in your life this year?
Writing prompt: Let your hero or heroine in your current WIP share a memory from Christmas past with another character in your story. See where it leads.