Finding Hope During Anxious Seasons

Recently, I found myself reflecting on experiencing Christmas nine years ago shortly after my mother passed away from lung cancer.

It was 2007 and it was a difficult year for me. As a senior in my final year of college, I found myself unsure where my life would be taking me after graduation. At the same time, my mother who was the rock of my family had just passed away a few days before Christmas and my family was struggling to come to terms with her absence in our lives.

For my family, that Christmas was an exceptionally difficult one for us. Especially since Christmas had always been a joyful holiday in my family largely because my mother loved Christmas and made sure Christmas morning was a magical experience for me and my sister.

As we find ourselves getting closer to Christmas, many are finding this to be an anxious season of advent in their lives. From the results of our presidential election which is causing many to have fear and concern about our country’s future.  To the current situation in Syria and the humanitarian issue there.  From the reminder of the loss of loved ones, relationship issues, and loneliness.  To financial issues and health concerns and family difficulties.  Many of us are in a season of anxiety this advent.

It’s justified that anxious seasons of loss and uncertainty do take away from the joy and gladness of the holiday season. And unfortunately, our society sometimes insist we must be joyful and holly during this time of year.

However, I’ve come to believe that Christmas is not about the need to rid ourselves of loss and fear in our lives to experience the true magic of Christmas. Instead, I have come to believe Christmas is a season to appreciate those who we still do have in our lives and what all of us have been promised in this “time of waiting.”

For us, it’s in this time of waiting in the advent that we are reminded of the one who will liberate these anxieties, sorrows, and uncertainties for us. And until that happens, we must have hope.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come,” writes Anne Lamott.

As you find yourself in this season of waiting,  may you be reminded that you don’t have to feel the need to be liberated of all sorrows and pains to experience the true magic of Christmas.  Instead, you just need to be reminded of the one who will liberate these anxieties, sorrows, and uncertainties and who is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

May you find peace, comfort, and grace during this season.