comfort and joy

Ohhhhhhh, the holidays... 

How I used to love them.


I waited expectantly all year for the sights, sounds, and smells of this beautiful season. I'd transform my African home with all things inappropriately seasonal—autumnal colors in springtime... snowmen in summertime. I'd cook Thanksgiving feasts for twenty, sometimes thirty or more. I'd put up a Christmas tree and hang stockings and spraypaint snow in the corners of my windows. 

It was, hands down, my favorite time of year.

:: ::

But that was before.

And this is after.

After love walked away. 

After trust was shattered, along with my heart. 

And after all of this betrayal and heartache unfolded within the holiday season. More than once. 

:: :: ::

The joy this time of year used to hold was replaced with painful memories and unrivaled grief. The storm clouds that now loom over Thanksgiving week—and stretch all the way through New Year's—are dark and thick and deafening.  


This formerly beloved season now feels like labored breathing. Exhausting. Hard. Painful. And mostly just hoping it will end as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

Sadly, I know I'm not alone in this.

Though our pain and timelines differ, I know so many who have endured their own unspeakable loss and grief, and wish they could just fast forward through the festivities... So many who find themselves under the storm cloud of sorrow along with me...

:: :: :: ::

I hear the words of the song playing in my head: "O tidings of comfort and joy." And I shake my head. Comfort and joy? 


:: :: ::

Those of you who, like me, find the holidays uniquely heartsore, please know you're not alone. And those of you who love this season, please celebrate with eyes and hearts open wide to recognize the brokenhearted around you. 

Maybe we can all be gifts of comfort and joy for one another. 

:: ::

Emmanuel. God with us. 

In our befores.

In our afters

In our right nows.

God with us.


Comfort and joy, friends...