Maybe this is your first Christmas since you’ve lost a parent.

Maybe someone close to you is sick, dying or struggling with substance abuse. Maybe you’ve lost a child, a spouse, or a sibling. Maybe you’ve lost your job.

Whatever the reason, you are struggling to celebrate this season, while it feels like the rest of civilization is throwing a great big party.

The gifts and desserts and decorations are just temporary distractions from your heartache–surface attempts at normalcy.

It’s all downright exhausting, putting on a smile, pretending to be okay while you’re hurting.

If your heart is broken this Christmas, I get it.

I see you.

And I’m giving you a pass.

It is OK to say, “I’m not OK. I’m grieving.”

It is OK to give yourself time and space and to decline invitations and obligations, even for things you do every year.

It is OK, even at Christmas.

You won’t say no forever. Eventually, you will come up for air, and celebrating will be easier.

You will remember your joy. In time.

Keep breathing.

You will survive this season.

You are allowed, required even, to forget the frivolous holiday festivities and turn your cares over to the Christ child, who never intended for the celebration of his birth to feel like a burden.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28 ESV

He will always give you rest.

This post originally appeared on Lauren Flake / Love of Dixie

 

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Lauren Flake

Lauren Flake is a wife, mom to two girls, watercolor artist, seventh generation Texan, and early onset Alzheimer's daughter. She is the author and co-illustrator of two award-winning children's books for grieving preschoolers, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? and Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?, and the editor of Love of Dixie magazine. She loves green tea, dark chocolate, and collecting all things turquoise.