Sad During the Holidays, by Faith Winters, LPC, ACS

The holidays are not always happy for everyone. It is Christmas. I love the joyful attitude. I take pleasure in the happy faces of the children. It is a time to remember the great gift God gave us.  Unto us a Savior is born... It is a time to think of others, time for an extra focus on giving and sharing. A time of joy and singing. It is also a time of sadness for some of us. This is one woman’s  quiet reflections on the holidays. 

It is Christmas. I am sitting here with tears on my cheeks while others laugh and sing. It is okay to mourn while others rejoice. Sometimes my heart may feel sad at the same occasions that cause others to feel joy. Its okay. When I seek a place to be alone with my feelings, I am not hiding; I am taking an appropriate break to honor the sad feelings and the loss I experienced. I can look at the pain and accept it. I will grieve for a time, maybe a minute, an hour, a day. And then it will pass.


When I step away from my loved ones, it is because my heart hurts. I need to acknowledge that hurt. I need to be honest with myself and let the pain of it wash over me for a time. I need to let these tears flow. In the tears is a balm for my soul. If I try to deny the pain it becomes a hard knot, a cold heavy lump within my heart that can become a tremendous load to carry. I step away for two reasons: 1) seeing your joy causes me to feel my own pain all the more sharply. Its as if I am standing outside in the dark and cold looking in at those in the warmth and light and knowing it is not for me. And 2) because I care about you, I don’t want my sorrow to dampen your joy. I want to see you happy (even when the contrast of your happiness and my sorrow is painful).

How can my loved ones help me?  When I am sad, ask if you can sit with me, ask if you can hug me. Just quietly hold me. Let me cry on your shoulder. I could use your comfort, your gentle touch, your caring. I don’t need your words to make it all right. You can’t fix it. There are no words that can make it all right. The loss I feel is real. It is sad. To heal from it I have to accept the sadness. I need to be honest with myself and let myself feel those sad feelings. In the acceptance of the pain there is relief. This deep sadness will not last forever. It will ease. I will find joy again. But for this moment I need to cry. There may be sorrow now, but joy comes in the morning.

Each year that I accept the grief and let it wash over me, it is a little less intense. The sorrow doesn’t last as long. The sadness is not quite as deep. The healing seems slow. But God comforts me as the healing continues. In this process of healing I feel God working in my heart to let me understand the sorrow of others more. I can reach out to them to comfort them with the comfort I have been comforted with.  Joy comes in the morning.


©2003 by Faith Winters.  Published in

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