Hope in grief // Advent Week 2

We are in the second week of Advent and last night I had the opportunity to attend a service at my church for those grieving during the holidays entitled “Night of Hope”. Since I only lost my mom this year, I had never thought to attend before. I am glad I went because it was a thoughtful way to speak into grief in a communal way.

My pastor simply spoke on how “Grief is weird”. Weird how grief manifests itself at once both subtly and without notice, how it is both universal and personal, and how profoundly it impacts your day to day.

Grief Recovery Institute defines grief as “the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.(1)”

This definition speaks to me because it is not defined only by loss of a person. “Grief is an emotional reaction to change. It may entail many different feelings or changes in behavior. You may grieve a loss that has happened or one that you know is coming.(2)” I think about families who dealt with long-term illness and, essentially, began to grieve the coming of change long before the loss occurred. I think of those who were caregivers, pulled into a behavior pattern that consumed their life one day and then simply does not the next.

Grief is weird and sometimes can come out in more emotions than just sadness. For me, there honestly has been many moments of reconciled relief. What I mean by this is, I’ll go through a ping of sadness, cry and allow that cleansing to take place. It will then most often lead be back to a sense of relief that my mom is not ill and in pain anymore, she is freed from depression. That relief finds its place again and again in my grieving.

It brings hope.

While we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth, we also celebrate the hope of Christ’s second coming and our restoration in Heaven.

Every Christmas I listen to this beautiful song by Amy Grant – Christmas Lullaby – and this year it has a deeper, more profound meaning. I hope it will remind you that even in your grief, there is hope as Christ simply asks you to follow Him and He will lead you home.

Are you far away from home
This dark and lonely night
Tell me what best would help
To ease your mind

Someone to give
Direction for this unfamiliar road
Or one who says, “Follow me and
I will lead you home”

How beautiful
How precious
The Savior of old
To love so
The loneliest soul
how gently
how tenderly
He says to one and all,
“Child you can follow Me
And I will lead you home
Trust Me and follow Me
And I will lead you home”

Be near me, Lord Jesus
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to Heaven
To live with Thee there
Take us to Heaven
To live with Thee there

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