Sometimes the Holidays Hurt

The holiday season is upon us I can’t help but think about the family gatherings, the food that is to be shared, and the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells that come at this time of year. With the thought of joyous gatherings comes the reminder of the hurt that can often accompany it.

Many experience the disillusionment of family expectations unmet, the hurt of being left out, the reminders of family fights in years past, and sometimes its simply the feeling of being alone.

While this holiday is one about gathering together to be thankful, often holidays focused on family can bring up reminders of strain that hasn’t been resolved.

I am not naive to think that everyone loves the holiday season. Trust me, even I struggle at this time of year. Sometimes its the short days and early darkness that gets me, sometimes its unmet exceptions that I place on a situation and then respond with disappointment when the story in my head doesn’t pan out. Sometimes I just get sad at this time of year, and you know what. IT IS OK. I am allowed to feel sad. I am allowed to not love every single moment of the holidays. I am still SO very thankful, absolutely, but I can be thankful and disappointed, I can be thankful and sad. I am allowed that…and so are you.

There is real hurt and real brokenness in our world and we all feel the weight of it sometimes.

Who doesn’t watch the news and your heart aches at the brokenness all around us? Who doesn’t know this own brokenness in our own lives, our own families? Sometimes its hard to bow our head in prayer, in thanks, when the ache is so fresh, so real inside our chest. Sometimes its easier to shake a fist at God than to accept the brokenness that is amplified in the wake of the holidays. We are told to give thanks in everything, but sometimes that just hurts. We have moments of doubt, moments of anger over hurts unhealed.

Even in the midst of hurts, of doubts, we still can say He is good, He is enough. Even when the answers to prayers prayed year after year haven’t come to fruition yet, we can still say He is perfect in all His ways. Does my mind understand it? No. Does my heart always accept it? No.

But I know that God is a good God, perfect in His ways, even when His perfect ways look very different from my minds idea of perfection.

Even in the pain we keep giving thanks because He is…. He is good, He is enough, and He does know our hurts and holds them safe until one day we are complete in Him.

I don’t have answers to the hurts, I can’t explain why families break, why parents lose children, and why families are forced from their homes with nothing but what they wear on their backs. But I do know that God is good…and our world is broken.

Until we see Him face to face this intermingling of pain and joy will never reconcile. And that has to be ok….we can give thanks, we can choose joy, and we still can celebrate the act of thanksgiving among a brokenness. It reminds me that we are longing for a home not found here on earth, a home where our hearts truly belong.

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