The Rev. Mary P. Trainor recently wrote an article that brings attention to an often overlooked aspect of the holidays: the fact that for many, the holidays are not a time of happiness and joy. Unfortunately, the holidays are often a time of intense sadness and loneliness, accompanied by overwhelming feelings of loss and grief. As the Rev. Trainor notes:
This day more than any other day in the secular calendar can trigger feelings of isolation and loss, unworthiness and sadness. Blue Christmas. That phrase hasn't hung around over the decades for no good reason.
As someone who has often struggled through the holidays, I empathize with those who find this time of year particularly difficult. In addition to the Rev. Trainor's thoughts about maintaining the presence of Christ during the Christmas season, it is helpful to consider additional healthy ways of coping. One resource on this site is Good Grief Work. In addition to an overall discussion of working through issues of grief, this free download offers suggestions and prayers for coping through the holidays. Here is one prayer as we remember those for whom this time of year is especially difficult:
O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever
of life is over, and our work is done. In your mercy, grant us a safe
lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.