Surviving the holidays.

Last week, I was able to speak to a group of people who came to an event called, “Surviving the holidays, no matter your loss.” Over the next few days, I want to share some of what I said that night.


Thanks for your courage in coming tonight.

I thought about calling this “I hate Christmas, and Thanksgiving is not much better.”

Hardly anyone chooses to come to hear someone say, “I hate Christmas.”

I mean, unless you know you are going to see the Grinch.
Or you are ready for Mr. Scrooge to have a change of heart.

And I will give you this.

I don’t hate Christmas.

My mom would be upset with me using the word hate.

So let’s try this.

I am frustrated about the ways that our expectations of Christmas and thanksgiving and holiday gatherings damage relationships and undermine our awareness of God’s healing and helping work.

Is that better?

The goal of this evening is to walk out with the beginning of a holiday plan, ways to survive the holidays.

We want to help you with THIS holiday season, perhaps in ways that may help for the future, but perhaps in ways that only help you get through the next couple months.

I want to be practical without giving you formulas or magic words.

Because, there are no magic words that will meet your loss. There are no formulas because no one has lost the one you lost. No one had the dream that you don’t have anymore. No one had your life with your loves and your losses.

Does that leave us lost and alone?

Not exactly.

No one else has lost our daughter, but many people have lost daughters.

No one else has lost your parents, but people have lost parents.

No one else has lost the life you had, but people have lost.

In the community of the limping, we can find some ways to take next breaths and next steps, alone, together.

This evening, I want to offer you six suggestions that might help you survive the holidays.

I think of them as handrails to steady yourself


Photo thanks to Hope Smith