“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

We are smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season. Maybe you know it by the date on the calendar or you are surrounded by trees, decorations and meals that make it “feel” like Christmas.  Still, some know it by a pain in their soul because of missed traditions. Even more difficult, the empty seat at the table is a reminder of what once was. It’s a hard story but I’m here to tell you, it’s not hopeless.

I grew up at a time where controlling emotions became an art form. It also became an unhealthy pattern of thoughts and behaviors. My God given emotions were created for a reason. They are like a warning light on the car. It tells us that something is wrong. We don’t remove the light; we find out what the signal means and tend to the need it’s presenting.

A dear friend shared with me years ago that she would get sad at the same time every year. Her husband pointed out that it was the same month that her mom had died. Although she was only five when it happened, she encouraged me with the words, “My heart remembered”.

When I still lived with the mindset that only good feelings were allowed, the bruised places in my heart became gaping wounds. By holding it all in, I had given it the power to overwhelm my thoughts and in turn, my soul. Sadness isn’t meant to be held onto or ignored; it’s meant to pass through like the seasons.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that there is a “time for everything”. I encourage you to spend some time reading through the passage. Even though it isn’t your typical “Christmas passage”, it’s definitely encouraging.

This year has most definitely been a season of struggle for many. The list may be long, but you need to know this, God’s love reaches further than the losses. His faithfulness is beyond anything we can imagine, and his grace is deeper than any chasm you sense in your heart.

During this season, I’m choosing to meditate on the ways he has brought me through the hard times as well as the times of rejoicing. As we focus on the gift of Jesus Christ, the babe in a manger, let’s not forget that he also endured pain as the promise of peace.