In as much as the season of Christmas often brings with it lights, jolly singing, and bright Christmas trees, it is not constantly a joyful season for all of us. If this is the first holiday after a loss or the fifteenth holiday, each presents new hardships and problems. But, in spite of the grief, the Incarnation and Nativity is a light in our own darkness, too.
I apologize for your loss. As the mourning process progresses, there are so many ‘firsts’ that we have to go through. The first birthday, the first wedding anniversary, and then the first Christmas.
Comprehend that you are not alone. In times of mourning, recall that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have suffered through loss as well. One of my favorite saints to turn to in times of suffering is St. John of the Cross. A Carmelite, he writes a poem about the ‘Dark Night of the Soul,’ the experience a person goes through when he or she does not sense Christ as close we would like. But sometimes, the way Christ enters our heart is by destroying it.
This Christmas season, find solace in St. John of the Crosses’ writing. In this Dark Night of the Soul, God is lovingly working on our souls to call us closer to His heart.
1. “The perseverance of darkness is the preparation for great light.”
2. “In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”
3. “If a man desires to be sure of the way he’s traveling on, then he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”
4. “God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness because if we fully knew what was occurring, and what Mystery, transformation, God and Grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.”
5. “O night that guided me! O night, sweeter than sunrise!
O night that joined lover with Beloved! Lover transformed in Beloved!
This Christmas, it is okay to give yourself the right to cry. Yet know that, thanks to the beautiful gift of a child in a manger, and the gift of his death on the Cross, we have reason to hope. This dark night will not last forever. He is with us.