Nov. 21st at The Crossing: ‘Surviving the Holidays’

Surviving the Holidays 2015

Cost: $10. Register Online.

If you are a regular reader of The Crossing‘s Every Square Inch blog, you may have noticed that every holiday season either my husband or I post something about Surviving the Holidays, a two-hour seminar developed to help those going through separation and divorce.

I sometimes wonder if we should stop posting the same message over and over…but then I am reminded why we do so whenever I run into someone who, three years ago, was in a seemingly-healthy marriage, but who is now facing the end of that relationship.

Though Norman Rockwell and Hallmark would have you believe that the traditional American holidays of Thanksgiving and the worldwide celebration of Christmas mark a period of time richly peppered with merriment, warm fires, abundant food and always-intimate family gatherings for everyone, there are many among us who dread their approach.

In the case of those we meet through divorce-recovery ministry at The Crossing, those reminders of change and loss are particularly painful; not only have they suffered the loss of a spouse, but the break-up of a family also means the breakdown of many of the family traditions they have long treasured.

The holidays are not special to us because each year is new and unique, but because they are an opportunity to return to the old and familiar. Traditions are built up around foods, destinations and people. “Grandma always makes her special cranberry salad at Thanksgiving.” “Every year we put the Christmas tree up as a family, with chili and hot chocolate for everyone.” “We always go to my in-laws’ for Christmas Eve with the children.”

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve at my house always included a big meal with ham, scalloped potatoes, buttery peas and soft rolls. The first year I didn’t spend Christmas Eve at my mother’s dinner table eating this exact meal, I felt thrown off, as if I’d somehow missed celebrating a part of Christmas.

There is comfort, security and a sense of belonging that comes out of the traditions that we create within our families, and the absence of that trip to the in-laws or the lack of cranberry salad on the Thanksgiving table can really make it feel like it’s “not quite right.” The loss or change of even one tradition can create a hiccup in our sense that this year’s holiday was “all it could be.”

broken-ornament-300x172Imagine, then, when your family is torn in two, and it’s not just the cranberry salad or scalloped potatoes that you’re missing, but the majority of those experiences that historically made the holidays special for you. The holidays aren’t simply less joyful; they can be deeply, deeply painful, and there’s no avoiding them. It’s not as if you can just ignore Christmas and pretend it isn’t coming.

The reality is that divorce means your life has been significantly changed, and this even impacts how you celebrate the holidays.

However, there is a way through this season that will provide opportunities to enjoy the holidays and deal with the change in a healthy manner. That is the focus of Surviving the Holidays, a program developed by Church Initiative, the same organization that produced the DivorceCare curriculum. For those going through separation and divorce – particularly those facing the holidays for the first time with a new paradigm of loss and sorrow – this seminar can offer practical suggestions for how to make it through the holidays…and even enjoy them!

The Crossing is once again hosting this event for those going through separation or divorce, on Saturday, November 21, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You must register for this event so that we can prepare for the right number of people; please do so at The Crossing’s Featured Events page.

Perhaps as you read this post, you know of someone else who is going through separation or divorce. I urge you to forward this message and encourage them to join us as well. After all, this is exactly why we keep repeating ourselves; every year, someone needs the hope and help Surviving the Holidays can provide.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

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