It’s the happiest time of the year!
For most folks.
For many, the Christmas season is a painful reminder of how life isn’t. Christmas shopping and cookie baking and light touring are done with an ache of deep loss.
I remember our first Christmas without Dan. I was so desperate for some measure of joy in our family, some indication that our toppled world would be righted again one day. That Christmas, and for the Christmases since, I needed to intentionally turn life inside out and pursue joy.
And so we started Days of Joy. During December and leading up to Christmas, we decided to look for ways to bless others. It wasn’t an everyday thing. With days already brimming full, we could not have handled another self-imposed must-do. But sprinkled throughout the month, as we saw a need or found a way to bless or serve, we did.
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Here are some pictures of our Days of Joy from last year. (Cell phone quality pictures taken on the fly last year.)
When you’re going through difficulty or grief, there is so much energy focused on self. Processing all of the thoughts and emotions is necessary, but I grew to really dislike the self-absorption. I didn’t want to ignore my sadness and I needed to battle the thoughts that overwhelmed me, but I sure was ready to look outside of myself and minister to others.
Getting eyes off self and seeing the needs of others is one of the best ways I know to turn deep pain inside out and work toward healing. It’s an intentional march toward full healing and seeing joy again.
We’ll be doing Days of Joy again this year. It’s become one of my favorite things leading up to Christmas.
How does your family spread joy at Christmas? I know many of you are so creative! It’s so inspiring to hear how about how others are intentionally blessing during the Christmas season.
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