Wendy: This week officially launches the holiday season as we celebrate Thanksgiving. In an earlier post titled, Happy Holidays?, my daughters shared great advice for navigating the holidays.
We want to address the subject of holiday-navigation again. It can be such a difficult time because of the many memories associated with a loved one who has departed. The first Thanksgiving and Christmas after my husband departed were not easy, I will admit. However, our family took a stand to be proactive and we made conscious decisions that helped us get through that first holiday season.
Elisabeth: Thanksgiving was intended to be a day for giving thanks. But with all the emphasis on the food and the shopping, it can seem like Thanksgiving has lost it’s meaning. Focusing on the real meaning of Thanksgiving…being thankful…will help you get through this first holiday of the season.
Rebekah: Your greatest temptation during this season will be to turn inward, focusing on what you don’t have. When you focus only on what you don’t have, you are completely unaware of the good things in your life.
Elisabeth: Focusing on what you don’t have breeds self-pity and selfishness. No one wants to be around someone who focuses only on themselves. So take hold of those “poor me” thoughts and turn them around by counting the blessings in your life.
Wendy: It may be difficult to see the blessings in your life when you’ve lost someone dear to you. But no matter your circumstances, it could be worse. I can hear you say, “I’m facing the holidays without the person who meant the most to me. How could it be worse?”
Marion Zirkle Wright is one of the women I most admire. Fifteen years ago, Marion’s husband, son, son-in-law, and several others close to her lost their lives in a plane crash in Guatemala. Think of the impact to Marion and her family. Three widows in their immediate family in one day. When you are tempted to think your situation cannot be worse, remind yourself that there are people who have experienced more hardship than you.
Elisabeth: Counting your blessings will cause you to become aware of the good things God has done for you and is continuing to do for you.
Rebekah: There is great comfort to be found in rehearsing the victories that God has brought about in your life. When you have experienced a loss, it is hard to look away from the negative situation. Your constant attention is focused on your pain unless you choose to look elsewhere. When you focus on the positive elements of your life instead of the negative, you replace doubt with faith and you can move forward without fear of the future. Choose to focus on God and His love for you. The positive things in your life are proof that He loves you. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Keep focusing on that. Don’t let thoughts of misery and pain make you question God’s love. Surround yourself with grateful, loving thoughts during the holidays and you’ll make it through. Keep telling yourself, “God only gives good gifts. It’s not going to get worse, it’s only going to get better.”
Wendy: By the way, Marion and her daughter remarried after their tragedy. They continue to serve God in Guatemala. Their family is a beautiful testimony to God’s faithfulness and redemption of terrible circumstances.
Choose to make it a Happy Thanksgiving!