((from… our newest member of the HiH team – your Friday Hoper, Bri! You can read more about her here!))
I love Thanksgiving.
That’s why I am adamantly opposed to jumping from Halloween to Christmas. I’m not anti-Christmas, I’m pro-Thanksgiving. I want each holiday to serve it’s purpose.
I love the way the holiday season makes us pause. We get to breathe and reflect and remember. There’s a corporate energy that reminds us that we’re all in this together and I’m here for it.
I’m sitting here typing at my parent’s home with a full heart because I get to be with my family, I have great friends and a job I love. I’m also sitting here feeling the weight of grief. Several dear friends have lost loved ones so close to this holiday season and I can feel the weight of it almost tangibly. I’m rejoicing with friends who have started new jobs, gotten engaged, and are expecting babies. I’m feeling the emptiness of being 29 and single… yet rejoicing because I love the stage of life I’m in. I feel it all.
It reminds me of what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This season creates space for us to throw love around and to receive it freely. It reminds us that we need each other. It reminds us that we can find pleasure in it all. No moment of joy is complete without friends to celebrate with you and grief seems a little more bearable when there are people are by your side helping to carrying the burden.
About three years ago, my aunt went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with kidney disease. I come from a very close family and she was our rock and the glue that helped us all stick together. She passed away a few days before Thanksgiving and the pain was (and still is, at times) unbearable. The holidays will never be the same. When our family is together we all feel what’s missing and we all hug each other a little tighter. Our corporate loss led to a corporate response of unity and love. Unified in our weakness and depending on Love to be our strength.
I’m sure that we all have tear stained pillows at our homes. And when we come together you can see the pain behind our smiles, and you sense an extra measure of love. We get to feel it all and we get to feel it all together. We become thankful and we’re not really sure why. We just know that we’re carrying each other. And as we do, our smiles becomes real, our laughter is genuine, and our tears are filled with joy as we remember.
It’s in my weakest moments that I realize how nice it is to be carried sometimes. We don’t have to be strong all the time, it’s the very reason that God Himself designed community… so that we would have each other (and be to someone else) they psychical representation of His grace, His love, His mercy, and His help.
So if you’re finding it hard to be thankful this holiday season, that’s okay. You don’t have to be strong this time around. Be brave enough to be vulnerable, to ask for help – and let your community carry you.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
I John 4:11