Help for the Holidays


The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a stressful time of the year. Our losses are often felt the deepest during the holidays and we can feel overwhelmed.

For those who lost their homes either temporarily or permanently as a result of Hurricane Harvey, this holiday season has the potential to be extremely stressful and sad. There is potential to even “miss” Christmas this year.

So, just how do we avoid missing Christmas and still get everything completed on our insane to-do lists? How do we avoid feeling angry when we hear of our friends decorating their Christmas tree while we are grieving the loss of all our special ornaments? How do we find time or the money to buy Christmas gifts when we are struggling to pay for home repairs?

Perhaps the answer to these questions is simply “Don’t miss Christmas.” John 3:16 tells us “ For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God invaded the pain and emptiness of our lives when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. Our greatest need in the midst of our brokenness, chaos, grief, stress and heartache is Jesus.

There is a list of practical tips at the end of this note to help you during the holidays. However, the following is a prayer that you might consider praying daily to help you receive what our hearts need the most.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for sending Jesus to rescue me and give me a new life. I confess my need for you, your love, your grace and your healing. You know that I feel overwhelmed, sad, afraid and weary. I need you to invade my brokenness with your presence. I need your love, your peace, your truth to reign in my heart and mind. I don’t want to miss seeing you at work in my life and in those around me. I don’t want to miss Christmas this year or this day. I want to receive your love and trust you for all things.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest “ (Matthew 11:28).

TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Look to Jesus
• Spend time daily in prayer, reading the Bible and thanking God for His presence in your life.
• Listen to your favorite worship music.
• Take a walk and talk to Jesus. Tell Him how you feel and allow Him to comfort you.

Expectations
• Expect things to be different this holiday season and avoid comparing to previous holidays.
• Expect grief to come and remember it’s okay to grieve.
• Expect to have moments that are good and moments that are difficult.

Make Plans
• Talk with family and friends about the holidays ahead of time.
• Be flexible – have a plan B.
• Express your needs and listen to the needs of others.
• Discuss what traditions you will observe this year and what will be different this year.
• Shop on-line for gifts and simplify your gift list.

Express your feelings
• Talk to your family, friends and God about how you feel.
• It’s okay to feel angry and sad but invite God into your emotions so that He can comfort you.
• Journaling and exercising are a couple of ways to express feelings.
• Allow God to move you from feeling overwhelmed to peaceful, from feeling sad to comforted, from feeling alone to deeply loved.

Self-Care
• Get proper rest/sleep.
• Moderation is key.
• Avoid over eating, too much caffeine and too many sweets.
• Drink lot of water.
• Simplify.
• Set boundaries.
• Take time to spend with friends/family.

Help Others
• Take your focus off your loss.
• Bless those around you.
• Include your family as you help others.
• Pray for others.
• Encourage others by sharing how God is helping you.

Count your Blessings
• Take time to thank God for His provision.
• Take a walk or sit outside and thank God for His creation.
• Make a gratitude list.
• Invite your family to make a gratitude list.

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