Christmas in a Broken World

by Alena Larsen

A friend of mine lost her grandfather a couple of years ago. It hit her hard; the man was like her second father. She’s had her good days and bad days since, but the holidays—from Christmas and Easter to the Fourth of July—have been hard ever since then. Even as she tells me of her family’s plans to get together and celebrate, her voice will often crack with tears as she remembers how much he used to love those times.
I suspect my friend is not alone. This season can be difficult for many people, whether you’ve also lost a loved one or your family always has the word “drama” attached to it. Even if everyone gets along well, the stress of planning an event can take the celebration right out of it. If you find yourself struggling through this holiday season, these are a few ideas to help you get through it—and maybe even find joy in it again.

Let Yourself Heal
Christmas may be a time of hurt, and it’s important to recognize that—especially if the wound is fresh. The timing doesn’t negate the fact that you’re grieving, and you’ll have to let yourself work through it. Grief takes time, and you’ve probably already figured out that you can’t rush the process. 
If you’ve lost a loved one, or you’re dealing with another kind of hurt, the people around you will probably recognize it and want to help you through it. They may be grieving too. Maybe you don’t have to have a big Christmas dinner; just make it a potluck and share the responsibility. Maybe you can focus on intangible gifts and use this season to remind those who are still with you how much you love them. Whatever adjustments need to be made, go easy on yourself and remember that the point isn’t the work you put into the celebration. It's the coming of the Savior. So let His love redeem the season for you.

Shift Your Focus
After all, Christmas is about a God who came to Earth to be near to the brokenhearted. If you are one of His beloved people, He has promised: “I will never leave you or abandon you” (Hebrews 13:6). He sees your hurt, and He is working through it. Pastor Jeff has been using 1 John 3:8b to describe Christmas: “the Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.”
When you think about all of the stress and hardship that may come with this time of year, make a conscious decision to turn to Christ. Remember how He has already defeated the worst; He has overcome death and sin to bring us to Himself. He came to make broken things whole again. He can redeem even the worst tragedies in your life. You'll come out of it closer to Him, more like Him, and glorifying Him all the way.

You’re Not Alone
God has given us His presence in the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the hearts of all believers. That means He walks with you through the darkest of times. He’s there when the kids are fighting and the family is struggling through a couple of hours in the same room. He’s there with you, bearing you up and carrying you close to His heart. You don’t have to go through this time of difficulty alone; God will go with you.
He also sends people into our lives to help us through these times of darkness. Specifically, He built the church to be a network of connection, and He calls us to bear each other’s burdens. Northstar has a ministry specifically intended to meet these kinds of needs: people who can be there for you, listen to you, and connect you with resources to get you through. Even if you attend church somewhere else, look for ways that God has put people into your life to help you walk through times of hardship and heartache.

This Christmas may be a difficult time for you, but with God’s help and the people He’s placed around you, it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Seek His face this holiday season, and watch as He provides healing in ways you never imagined.

If you need support this season, Northstar Care Ministries are here for you. Email us at
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