You can run, but you can’t hide.
Reminders of the holiday season are everywhere.
Grocery stores are infiltrated with decorations, toy catalogs arrive in our mailboxes daily, and invitations for special events flood our social media accounts.
No matter what’s going on in our lives, the message is inescapable:
“Bask in the glow of being surrounded by the people you love most, while lavishing them with the things they’ve been dreaming of and receiving everything you’ve always wanted.”
How can we not long for that kind of perfection?
But how can we have it when we’re struggling with missing a loved one who passed away? When we are confronted with a family member who is struggling with mental illness or addiction? When tough relationships poke at our deepest wounds and make us feel horrible inside?
Where is the magic when we’re struggling financially and can’t afford special extras for our children? When we’re struggling with a scary diagnosis or going through a messy divorce? What about when we’re so totally overwhelmed trying to live up to the hype that we’re struggling to put one foot in front of the other?
I know how it goes, believe me! I have been fortunate enough to enjoy my share of magical holiday moments, but I have also experienced my share of heartache at this time of the year. In fact, I’ve survived some of my darkest times when everything was supposed to be “merry and bright.”
I know how the lighted decorations can feel like spotlights directly on the heavy burden you can barely keep carrying.
I know the sting in your heart every time you’re confronted by images of other people’s perfect holiday moments, which are just not a possibility in your life at this time.
So in case your heart is aching with a grief or pressure or pain that just won’t quit, I want to reach out and connect with you to remind you that you are not at all – in any way, shape or form – alone.
It’s okay to struggle through this time of the year.
We all go through hard times, even those of us with picture-perfect holiday cards this year.
In case you need to hear it, I am SO so so so truly sorry for your loss or struggle or whatever challenge you’re going through.
I believe that you will rise above it all in good time.
And let me remind you what you probably know deep down but are forgetting in this difficult moment:
That the real spirit of the season isn’t about the kind of easy we see in holiday catalogs anyway …
It’s about perfect love being born in imperfect places.
It’s about life-changing, unconditional love, which transcends the limitations of time and space coming to earth because it wants to help with our messy, complicated human problems.
So I hope and pray with all of my heart that in the darkness of your struggle, this truest spirit of the season sneaks into your brokenness, so you can make some magical holiday memories this year in spite of it all.
How are you coping with your personal challenges this holiday season? What wishes do you have for others who are going through hard times?