It is hard to believe that Advent is upon us, and before we know it, it will be Christmas. As I think about Advent, I am reminded of what the true meaning of Advent is: a time of waiting, a time of preparing. And then we break through, letting the light shine and becoming aware of Christ’s light shining brightly in our hearts. It is that same light that we look for when one is grieving—we hope and pray for it as each day passes and as we journey through our grief.
Advent calls us to look within and listen to the voice that is calling us. What is that whisper? It is that same voice that calls us when we are grieving—if we are open to listen and respond. Journeying through one’s grief is hard work and takes patience, time, listening to your heart, sharing with others and not being afraid to take the painful steps toward healing.
Advent and Christmas can be a difficult time of year for many people. If we truly think about it, many of us have hearts that are broken and are hurting during this time of preparation, light and music. Think about your own heart: What is it that would help you feel peace, joy and hope? Are you willing to set the time apart and listen to your God, to your loved one who has died—and just be? Maybe when you least expect it, the light will be shining so brightly that the message will be revealed to you. It is that voice saying: Do not fear. All will be well. Feel My love surrounding you. You never walk alone. I am journeying with you, no matter how rocky the path.
Today is a new day. Rise and experience the light of Christ shining brightly on you, leading you to a new tomorrow. You may put a candle in a prominent place every day and let it shine brightly on you and give you peace, joy, love and hope.
What do you want your Advent and Christmas to look like? Can it truly look like that? If not, what is it you are being called to do to change each day during Advent until the day of Christmas shines brightly upon us and gives us hope? Do not be afraid, the light is leading you to something new and magnificent.
In her capacity as a grief support specialist for Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Sister Pat will be offering a non-denominational service called Break Through the Darkness, at 2 p.m. on December 10 at Zion Lutheran Church in Youngstown (3300 Canfield Road).
Tune in to the Catholic Echo Podcast for Episode 7 (availably on December 17) for an in-depth interview with Sister Pat on how to handle grief during the holidays.