Oh sweet friend, just writing this post makes my heart feel pangs of sadness. Thinking about you makes tears run down my cheeks. You see, last year I was you. I was the girl that couldn't find her Christmas, no matter where she looked. I was the girl with an empty, aching heart.
Let me share my story.
Last year, as the Holidays approached, they felt different. I pushed it aside as much as I could, until the obvious was staring me straight in the face. I put up my tree, made handmade decorations, shopped till I dropped, baked cookies, watched Rudolph, burnt yummy smelling candles...and still nothing. I still couldn't feel Christmas. Why couldn't I FEEL it? I ran down the to-be-happy-at-Christmas checklist, put marks in all the boxes and I'm still wasn't happy.
I was sassy. I was mean. I was sad. I cried. I was distant. I had myself a big ole' pity party. Daily, I alternated between trying to talk myself out of it and justifying my feelings. Christmas was just so expensive and money was tight. Last year I had a close friend to do fun holiday activities with, this year I didn't. My dog was aging and couldn't walk some days. The weather was yucky. There wasn't any snow. I missed my Grandma who had passed away. My family didn't get together anymore on Christmas Eve. I could go on and on.
My heart was just sad.
I'm going to be honest. No matter how much I tried to talk myself out of it, it was just a valley I had to walk through. And that's okay.
Friend, if you’re hurting this holiday season...It’s okay to hurt.
People will, no doubt, tell you to just "get over it" and "move on". And maybe you feel like you should be over it, but you just don't know how to be. I want to tell you it's okay.
If there is anything I've learned over the past few years, it's this. When God leads you through a valley, don't close your eyes. Keep them open as wide as you can. Along the journey, even in the midst of the valley, there will be beautiful blessings.
I promise you, some day you will find joy in the Holidays again. God has joy planned for you!! At first, it may come in a little smile here or there. Or you find yourself actually singing along to a Christmas carol. Embrace it! Smile. Laugh. Hug. Eat. Fellowship. And when the tears come, embrace them too. Cry if you need to. Be honest and brave.
Healing will come. Joy will emerge from this dark season. A Holiday season will feel almost normal again. Laughter will return.