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10 Ways to Process the Emotions of Christmas Loss

10 Ways to Process the Emotions of Christmas Loss

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. As the song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But for some people the saddess of Christmas loss means Christmas can be a miserable time.

Many have lost a loved one, suffered the end of a significant relationship, or even had a severe personal loss of income or health. For them, Christmas is a just another reminder of what they no longer have. If we aren’t careful, the joy of Christmas is covered over with the emotions of loss, and rather than appreciating what we have or looking forward to what’s to come, we find ourselves in Christmas misery.

Several years ago, to prepare for a Christmas message, I consulted with two professional Christian counselors in our church. With their advice and some of my own, I offered some practical ways to overcome a sense of Christmas loss.

Ideally, Christ is the answer. Apart from Christ there is no Christmas and there is no peace. These suggestions are not designed to take the place of that truth, but rather to give some practical tips to help you deal with loss at Christmas.

10 ways to process the emotions of Christmas loss:

1. List your losses

Death, divorce, injury, finances, children moved out this year—whatever they are—write them down. I’ve personally found journaling to be helpful. Admit the pain—write them down.

2. Share them

Certainly, you should share them with God, but maybe with a close friend or with people who have experience dealing with your specific loss. Don’t be ashamed to see a professional counselor. Find support in a Bible study group or prayer group. We were designed for community, especially for times like this.

3. Grieve the loss

Every loss must be grieved. The intensity of the grief may be determined by the intensity of the loss. Some form of depression is a normal response to grief. We’ve almost created a culture where we think suffering is abnormal. Don’t be afraid to grieve—even publicly at times. It’s OK to be human.

4. Resist falling into despair

That’s where you live in a false reality that all hope is gone. It’s not. By the way, you don’t do that by ignoring them.

5. Take care of your physical body

Eat well, exercise and get adequate rest. It’s more important during a sense of loss.