December Holiday Message
As we enter the month of December, it seems like a good time to look back on the year and our lives as a whole… Just as the seasons change, so do our lives as time passes. We may experience the harshest of storms in what feels like the coldest and cruelest of winters. Sometimes it feels as though the ice and darkness will never subside; that the sun will never reach that point in the sky where it used to shine so brightly and warm so completely. Is it possible that the Christmas season could be placed at a better time during the year? I think not.
I know that I may not know you personally, but my story is much like many of yours: not in the details, of course, but in the sense that I have been hit with some harsh winters. We all experience loss and heartache in one way or another. Life is anything but predictable. I’ve wrestled with depression and anxiety from an early age, and this has made my coping skills less than ideal for my storms—like going out barefoot to shovel the driveway with a spoon, you know? But even for this I thank God because I am constantly learning and improving; progressing as I have much room for growth. The last three years have plowed over me with the death of my precious newborn son, my best friend/sister-in-law, and then my closest of allies, my brother. I couldn’t get on my feet. How? Why! Some days, I would try so hard to go back to sleep to escape this reality. And the guilt for having such conflicting emotions: trying to love and be grateful for the people and things I do have while mourning all I’ve lost. Would summer ever grace me with its warmth again?
Just as the Christmas Holiday is placed in the middle of winter—and I realize it is not snow and ice all around the world, but this analogy works for us in Utah so bear with me—I too, have found new hope in the midst of my darkest hour. I have even found a beauty in the sorrow, a sacredness in the loss and longing. If you do not share my Christian beliefs, please take this as a symbol for what it’s worth: The Son has risen. The Son has been to the depths of Hell and back, and I can too! The Son shines with His warmth and healing ever reaching, never to be consumed by the cold and hopelessness I once felt. As I have discovered things about myself and tools I need to succeed in fighting my winters, I feel that the Son has given me strength and power. I feel like I can whether any blizzard that comes my way. I know that Spring will come! That rebirth and renewal of life, hope, and peace is always available and reachable if I can make but the smallest of effort. I have hope that better things are to come, and the peace of knowing that when the storms hit that Spring always follows. It’s not easy, and I don’t expect the rest of my life to be easy, but I am not alone. God has given me my loved ones here and beyond, a new-found strength inside myself, and the ultimate defense of the Son.
I must say it feels strange, but I am proud of myself. It became necessary for me to overcome (and this is still very premature) my feelings of inadequacy and guilt. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way. I feel a peace amidst the turmoil. You might even call it a “Hopeful Beginning.” It is my wish for you that as you read this message, you might allow yourself to feel the warmth of the Son at this beautifully white time of year. You are not forever frozen in the ice that binds us, but you have the power to break free! I know you can, if you believe. He believes in you, just believe in yourself.