From Grieving to Giving – Waking Up to Holiday Joy

Photograph by Jeff Regan

Photograph by Jeff Regan

Have you felt this way in recent weeks?

“I feel like Christmas has been canceled this year.”

“This is the most depressing Holiday season…..”

“I don’t even want to celebrate…”

These were some of the sentiments I’ve heard from friends and clients as we moved into the Holiday season with the first night of Hanukkah.  This year of loss, disruption, and turbulence has left most of us grieving a loss. At the deepest level, some are mourning the loss of a loved one or friend. Others are grieving a job loss, career disruption, or business closing.   During this holiday season, these losses are magnified by our inability to connect and interact personally with family, friends, and colleagues.

As I found myself grieving for the canceled Holiday gatherings,  concerts, and Christmas services that  I couldn’t attend,  I received a wake-up call.  A little inner voice whispered, “Christmas isn’t all about you.”  I realized that I was being invited to shift my focus from what’s missing from my life to what can I give away to others.

There are so many ways to give to others. Financial donations to the many charitable organizations that help people in need are one way. There are also many opportunities to volunteer at your local church, food bank, or Senior Center.

If you can’t leave your home, why not reach out with a phone call to someone in your family or neighborhood who’s spending the holidays alone.  How about reconnecting with a friend or family member with whom you’ve lost touch? A lot of people are taking the time to write personal notes on the Christmas cards they send.  Others are delivering holiday treats to their neighbors.  In my coastal community, talented photographers are capturing stunning pictures of sunrises, sunsets, and other gorgeous views of nature and sharing them on Nextdoor. How many other ways can you think of to share your time, treasure, or talent to brighten someone’s day?

When we turn our focus from everything we’re missing this Holiday season to brightening another person’s day, it can lighten our mood and surprise us with a quiet joy.

And at the end of the day, connecting and giving is what this season of light and love has always truly been about.

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