The Advent and Christmas seasons can be especially difficult for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. The pain of their loss is exacerbated by the festive atmosphere that surrounds the celebration of Christmas, as well as the false perception that everyone else (or almost everyone else) is enjoying themselves at this time of year.
It is hard to have a “merry” Christmas when those who have helped to make past Christmases merry are no longer with us. But the good news is that, in the midst of our sadness at the passing of our loved ones, it is still possible to have an Advent and Christmas that are “meaningful.” Lest we forget, the reason our Lord was born into this world was to save us from eternal death by his passion, death and resurrection. As Bishop Sheen used to say, “We are born into this world to live; Jesus was born into this world to die.” He was born to die, that we might live — forever. He came so that physical death would not have the final word either in our lives or in the lives of our loved ones. It’s this sure and confident hope that should make Christmas meaningful for all of us, but especially for those who are grieving. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, who was born into this world on Christmas Day, they have the hope of seeing their loved ones again.
And so do we.
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