The holiday season is full of magic and celebration and wishes for joy and good tidings. People wish each other a Merry Christmas and visit family and pepper their social media feeds with happy activities and merriment. But not everyone feels happy at Christmas time. In fact, a lot of people feel weary and grief-laden. You may be mourning a loss, mourning a sickness, mourning the fact that things just aren’t the way they should be. You may be mourning a diagnosis of Alzheiemer’s or mourning a child gone down a hard parth. Whatever it may be, the jolliness of Christmas feels fake and overdone and maybe depressing. Sometimes we feel alone in this sadness. We think we are the only ones feeling Grinch-like and so we bottle up all those feelings and put on a fake smile, all the while screaming THERE IS NO JOY IN THIS WORLD in our heads. And that’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad during the holidays. It’s okay to wish it was over or feel angry. So this is for you this holiday season: all you who are grieving.
Let us light the candle of joy, even when the world abounds in sadness. May we sit with it and feel the joy that doesn’t come from outward circumstances, but from the deep knowing in our hearts that we are loved and we are enough.
Let us light the candle of hope, even when despair is knocking at our door. Hope isn’t blind optimism, it is seeing a reality that might be.
Let us light the candle of courage, even when fear is threatening to choke us. Courage stands in the face of all that scares us and says, I will keep moving.
Let us light the candle of peace, even when our world rages with war and anger and hatred. Peace starts in our hearts, in the willingness to see the humanity in each other. Peace starts with being still.
Let us light the candle of grace, even when the burdens we carry are weighing us down. May we have grace for ourselves, for the battles we are fighting every day. And may we have grace for each other, for the battles we can’t see, but know the other is fighting as well.
Let us light the candle of love, for love is what makes us all do the next right thing.
Let us light the candles, every year, no matter what.