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19. When It Is Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What do we do with grief, loss, and sadness during Christmastime?

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15 min / Published

It's the season known as "the most wonderful time of the year." But what if it's not? What if this season contains sadness, grief, or loss? What if this isn't a merry Christmas season? In this episode Julie shares a personal story of loss and heartache at Christmastime, and what helped her through. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com.

Show notes

In this season commonly termed, "the most wonderful time of the year," many of us agree that it is. And if you're like me, you like singing along with the popular Andy William's rendition of the song. (Great. Now I'm going to have that song on repeat in my head for the rest of the day. Sorry if that's the case for you, too.) But in all seriousness, sometimes this season is not the most wonderful time of the year for us. Sometimes it's the most stressful time of the year (like we discussed in last week's episode). Or it's the most emotional time of the year. Or it's the most sorrowful time of the year.

I get it. How do we deal with real life like this when the rest of the world is singing Christmas carols and waiting under the mistletoe? In this episode we're looking at the hope available to us in this season when it is not the most wonderful. We will find encouragement for our real lives right now when we experience grief and loss during the Christmas season. Click the player above to listen to this week's episode.

I know what it’s like to experience grief and loss at Christmastime.

It was a frigid December day, just five days before Christmas.

Everything was frigid, including the first-row wooden church pew I was sitting on with my family. The elaborately decorated sanctuary before me captured my attention. I had attended many a service in this church–my childhood church–during Christmastime, but never had I seen the sanctuary look this breathtaking. A brightly lit Christmas tree. A perfectly displayed manger scene. And, some of the most gorgeous red Poinsettias I’ve ever seen filled the front of the church. It was everything lovely.

You’d think with such beauty and splendor this would be one of the most special days of Christmas ever. I wish I could say it was. However, this was my worst. I was saying goodbye to my mother at her funeral.

Who buries her mother just five days before Christmas?

When the rest of the world is rockin’ around the Christmas tree and making their lists and checking them twice, how is one supposed to mourn the loss of her best friend during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? When others are decking their halls and trimming their trees and enjoying all the season has to offer, how in the world do we make room for grief and loss? For a casket and death and sorrow? Just five days before Christmas? How does any of that even begin to make sense? How in the world can this be? What does one do when it is not the most wonderful time of the year?

There was absolutely nothing merry about that Christmas.

And maybe there's nothing merry about Christmas for you this year. I pray this isn't the case, but in real life I understand how difficult the Christmas season can be. It isn't always sugar cookies and sprinkles. Nor is it always tinsel and glitter.

It certainly was not the most wonderful time of the year for me.

I share this piece my story in this episode and highlight the hope that kept me going. I offer some thoughts and share ways I cared for myself and allowed me to grieve during Christmastime. And I remind you that it's okay if this is not the most wonderful time of the year for you. It's okay to "just be" in this season.

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Encouragement for Real Life
A podcast by Julie Lefebure
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