By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
As we wind down the year and the holidays approach us with all its glitz and glimmer, everyone just seems so holly and jolly. Unless you are the one cautiously walking into the holiday season with the heavy weight of grief and sorrow. All you may see through misty eyes are hues of memories that are muted and grey.
Last year was the year of “firsts,” as my mom passed four days after Easter in 2022. Stepping into the holidays seemed anything but cheerful. I can still vividly remember going to the hardware store with my hubby. He practically begged me to tag along, and most likely, it was to get out of the house, so I “sorta” happily obliged.
Unfortunately, I was taken by surprise the minute I stepped into that store, a place I thought could in no way, shape, or form remind me of my mom. Yet, there I was, quickly immersed in all things Christmas and surrounded by a bunch of cute, smiley snowmen with twinkling lights. I froze. I stood there and felt the heat wave of grief wash over me and the hot tears forming. The room started to spin, and all I could do was eventually get enough energy to put one foot in front of the other and step outside.
Like many, my momma loved Christmas! She had a knack for making it so special and magical. Not only that, but she etched the love for cute snowman creatures as part of my décor since I was little. Which is funny since we live in a place that never sees snow. Between the two of us, we have a plethora of snowmen ranging in all shapes and sizes, from lonely snowman figurines to a family of snowmen that graced our dining room tables.
Can you relate?
Maybe you are wading through a season of grief this holiday. Perhaps you can’t seem to bring out the decorations or get in the “cheerful spirit.” Let me first say two words I often needed to hear last year when I couldn’t manage to take out my snowmen or tap into any merriment– It’s okay. It’s okay to give yourself time, to feel “all the feels,” and to not really get into the spirit of it all. It’s okay.
Friend, if I could take your hand and tell you anything about mourning during the holiday season, it would be that this is going to be hard, really hard. But, there is so much comfort when we lean into a God that knows exactly how to comfort us. His promise to draw close and be near (Psalm 34:18) was (and still is) the only thing that brought me joy and continues to bring me joy as we step into another year without my beloved momma.
So, as you find your bearings and do your best to muster enough energy to just get through the discomfort of each new and emerging day, here are some prayers to lean on, my precious friend.
1. A Prayer for Peace
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Jesus, Prince of Peace, I come before You now, humbly submitting my weary and heart full of sorrow to You. Grief is blind sighting me, and if I am being honest, it is stealing my peace. I know You know this full well, and I am so very grateful that Your unfailing love still meets me where I am and can deliver me from this intense pain. This loss is so deep, Jesus, and many days, I have been unsure how to navigate it, especially this time of year. I long to worship You and sing Your praises for the glory of Your birth, Jesus. So I ask that You draw near, restore my peace, and help me keep my focus on You. I pray this in Your Holy name. Amen.
2. A Prayer for God's Presence
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
God, thank you for the comfort of Your divine presence. Your promise to never leave or forsake me gives me the endurance to keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing You are always there reaching out Your mighty hand. During this time of mourning, I am desperate for Your presence and crave Your closeness. I sincerely ask that You draw near and allow me to soften my heart to feel Your warmth and compassion. Please provide places where I can be still and quiet, soaking in the wonders of Your love and the beauty You so graciously offer us through Your Son this time of year. You are a good Father. Amen.
3. A Prayer to Rest
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Lord, You are my fortress, refuge, and place for real, true rest. The kind of rest that restores the rough edges of my heart and ignites an inner strength that only comes from You. Grant me the gift of rest this season, O God. I earnestly pray for a good night’s sleep to tend to the physical needs of my body. I also ask for the blessing of mental and emotional rest and ask that You provide ways to place my thoughts on what is good and on the nature of Your goodness this holiday season. Spiritually fill my cup, Lord, and grant me grace and mercy when I fail and bend to the uglier side of my grief. Thank you for being my source of healing rest. I am forever grateful. Amen.
4. A Prayer for Hope
Father, You tell us that You will bless those who mourn. When we seek Your face, we will find comfort and undeniable hope. So, Lord, I come to You now. My heart is open, and my hands are wide. I surrender it all to You and lay it at Your feet. The hurt, the pain, and the sorrow. I give it all to You. This grief can often feel so overwhelming and take me by surprise that I fail to see that You are near. I forget that You are my source of strength, as I easily get caught up in the sorrow. When being surrounded by family and friends becomes more hurtful than heartwarming, I lose hope for feeling that unexplainable excitement that usually comes with the holidays. So, I invite you into those cracks and gaping holes of my heart. Restore and mend in me the ache of my loss, and help me shift my perspective and find my hope in You alone. I love you! Amen.
5. A Prayer to Experience Joy
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
Gracious God, thank you for the beauty of this season and, most of all, for the precious gift You give us in Your Son, Jesus Christ. While this season is to remind us of a miraculous birth and a precious, perfect life, I also know that You understand the pain and torment that come with deep and profound loss. So, with that said, I need Your infinite wisdom and guidance. As I step into a new season without my dear loved one, I ask that You please help me find sweet little places of joy to be able to tuck into my heart. While some moments may spur on such sorrow and trigger waves of grief, I ask that You also bring forth glimmers of joy through tears of laughter and sweet, gentle reminders that You are with us. Thank you for giving us a season that is filled with joy! Amen.
6. A Prayer for Grace
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Lord, I am so thankful that You are a God that extends us such grace. Your mercies never fail and reign upon us time and time again. However, as I am in the deep pit of despair, I often fail to extend myself any grace. While my heart yearns to grieve, life must go on as children still need tending to, activities still abound, and now holiday festivities fill up the calendar. But, God, while the rest of the world turns and I am forced to turn right along with it, I am unable to move some days. Some days, grief knocks me over and renders me speechless and unable to act. Lord, it’s in those moments that I deeply need You. Lord, will you provide and offer me the space to lean into You and find comfort and peace in the wing of Your care? Grant me grace to fill this new void I feel with the wonders of Your unfailing love. I ask this in Your precious Name. Amen.
Dear friend, I am so sorry you are navigating through a season of grief this holiday season. May you find comfort and peace in God’s precious presence and find ways to allow Him to minister to your heart.