December 17 – Behind the Christmas Card – Coping with grief

Read James 1:17

Christmas can be hard when you suffer loss, but despite the loss I have experienced, I believe God is STILL GOOD.

In 2011 my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and in 2013 we could no longer have my dad take care of her and had to place her in a facility that knew how to deal with this awful disease.

By 2014 my mom was starting to not remember my dad or myself. In 2015, we lost my mom. The loss was so great for our family, especially for my dad, because they had been married 65 years. Even though I never really had a relationship with my dad, our family decided to include my dad in every family get together and holiday. During that time, I developed a closeness to my dad that I never thought possible.

As Christmas 2015 drew closer both my dad and I were sad to think mom was no longer with us, so we asked dad to stay with us over the holidays. He was so excited to be with us on Christmas Eve and he even went to the 11:00 candlelight Christmas eve service, then stayed up with us till 2am talking and joking around! The next morning we all gathered together and dad was like a little kid in a candy store.

The Lord blessed us ALL that Christmas with the best gift ever. The chance to really get to know my dad.

Dad was a “Family Circus” cartoon addict and he would read it faithfully every day, and if it pertained to any of us in the family he would cut it out, put our initials on it and hand it to us with a chuckle. Well, the day after Christmas he cut out the one from the paper and put all our initials on it and said, “This is SO TRUE!” It read…”Santa’s going to have a hard time topping this Christmas next year.” Dad was right it was going to be hard to top.

We did get one more Christmas with my dad before he passed last year, which we are forever grateful for.

As I go into another year without my parents, the loss is still great, but the Lord is still good. As I pulled out my dad’s stocking I cried remembering what a perfect gift I received that year. The GIFT of time with my dad, the Gift of celebrating Jesus’ birth with him and the gift of knowing one day I will see them both again.

Missing a loved one is painful, but never more so than during the holidays, I know! But over the past few years, I’ve learned it’s okay to not be okay. The tears will flow, the sorrow may over take you and paralyze you, but just remember there’s one who knows EXACTLY what that’s like. God knows! He is my lifeline and he wants to be yours. He cares and is never offended by our questions or our deep pain. He just doesn’t want us to stay there! The key is to keep turning to Him, He’s our peace in the midst of our pain!

It is so true what James writes in James 1:17, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.”

Lori Lehman

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