I wrote the following in a grief group. I’m sharing it here because I know many of you are facing health issues, financial issues, family issues and other types of issues. Many of you dread the holidays.
May I add a different view?
Our son’s birthday is Christmas Eve. He died along with four friends in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver in August 2013.
I look forward to the holidays, though he won’t be here (this will be our 4th Christmas since his death) and neither will some of our other adult children whose work schedule won’t allow them to travel home.
We’ve hosted a Christmas Eve open house for years. Food, board games, laughter.
The first year after Andrew died was hard, but sweet. Many who came knew it was his birthday and quietly mentioned him or gave me a hug. After everyone left, I sobbed. I was still hurting but so grateful for our friends who love us well.
The second year we invited two strangers who were in need of a place to stay to come to our home for the week. I literally picked them up off the street. I felt directed by God to do so. They came as homeless strangers and left as friends.
Last year we had a college gal living with us; she was paying her own way through school and we could provide a free place to live. (I enjoyed having her happy self in my home.) We were also expecting a new granddaughter on Christmas. She arrived a few days later. 💗 We let a few pastor friends know about our Christmas Eve party. They sent folks who had no place else to be that day. Those folks found love and laughter in our home. We hope they come back this year.
We invited a military family for Thanksgiving. They and others will be invited for Christmas. We will open our doors to friends, family, and strangers again this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
This is how we can quietly honor Andrew; make new friends and love others. He was quick to make a stranger into a friend. He loved lavishly. He smiled often and his joy was contagious.
My life isn’t perfect. I have issues like other people. I have hard days when I cry or feel lonely. But my faith has helped me to look outside of myself and my needs to love others, to share what little I have with others, to welcome others into our home.
I think about the holy family – No room in the inn – and even through my pain and sorrow, I’ve tried to open up my heart to love others. I get great love in return, love that comforts, love that soothes, love that heals.
This past Saturday we had ten Harleys in the driveway. Great folks in town for a meeting. Again, they arrived as strangers but after spending the night on couches, beds, and the floor, they left as friends.
And if any of you are traveling through Wichita Falls on Christmas Eve, or any other day of the year, we’ll keep the light on for you.
What are you doing this holiday season to love others? Out of your pain? Out of your joy? Out of your need or abundance? How are you going to honor the Gift sent by our loving Father?