There are probably more in your church who’ve experienced loss than you realize. At a time of festivity, some in your congregation are struggling. “Holidays” are no holiday for them. It’s a time of pushing emotional hot buttons.
If you want to minister to a large percentage of your folks, figure out a way to convey some practical thoughts that will make an adjustment. Send an email, weekly ezine, or just build these into the end of a message…
1. When you’re with friends and relatives at Thanksgiving-Christmas and others are sharing what they’re grateful for / are celebrating, instead of focusing on your past and sense of loss, tell a funny story about them!
Close by making a toast to the memory of that person. Smile. Laugh, tears – it’ll be okay.
2. Don’t be afraid to make changes to long-standing traditions. Keep a couple of them, then try on a few more to see how they fit. Repeat next year.
3. Realize there is a difference between “Celebrating” and “observing.”
4. Find a better focus.
Here’s the biggest adjustment you can make to fight a negative focus – do something aimed beyond yourself. Reach out to the Needy for example. If you need an idea, go to an inner-city soup mission and serve in a practical way. “Soup ladling therapy.” Maybe buy a few dozen donuts and give them out to those who have to work on Christmas Eve / Day. Tell them this is a simple way to bring the amazing love of Jesus who is madly in love with them. If you are chicken to go by yourself, ask a few friends until someone agrees to come along.
Bless those you touch with a 10-second prayer. They’ll probably say yes.