But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies are new every morning;
great is thy faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Holy moly! Summer didn’t even say goodbye. She just packed up her stuff and left! Considering the warmer summer months gave us some additional mobility, and possibly some protection, this season transition is going to take some work. An unexpected transition is a rather good definition of grief. Most importantly, the holidays are coming! Those who have worked through grief will tell us that the holidays are a time that takes some care. But, with some forethought, they can still hold joy.
Grief counselors will tell us to be prepared for the holidays, not just to have the right food, games and projects but to also consider how the holidays will change this year. To have a holiday plan means we are ready for the way our environment may alter our regular expectations.
To begin a holiday plan, consider what is most important for you and your family. Identify which family members or friends you will be
spending which holidays with. Discuss how to minimize risks by quarantining before getting together. Discuss parts of your usual holiday experience and what of that you can put into practice. More importantly, what specifically can you not do? Carefully list these items and have a discussion with family and friends. Consider together how you can make allowances, be creative, and meet those needs in new and different ways. See if you can come up with meaningful substitutes. Accepting alternates is a strong way to cope. Finally, discuss roles and responsibilities. What will each person do or bring? Especially, help the young people in your life to process and understand the differences.
During the festivities themselves, make time to get away from the expectations and work. Spend some real time in prayer and meditation to remind you of your best self. Do the work of thinking through your feelings and actions. Be extra ready to forgive yourself and those around you. This is a hard year for everyone.
Accept the fact that life is a bit different this year. Minimizing or denying these facts won’t make them go away. But, with some skill we can have meaningful days. Make a plan how you can be present with your loved ones that are not there in person. Use the postal
service, video conferencing, calls, cards, gifts and other ways to be present though physically distant in your loved ones’ lives.
Finally, care for yourself and remember to do something for someone else daily. Tremendous joy is given when you care for someone else. But the caregiver may receive the most joy!
God’s love never ends. God’s mercies never cease. These things are new every morning. We may need to prepare for a different holiday season, but God is faithful. Our circumstances will change for the better. Hope is ours.