‘Surviving the Holidays’ Dec. 8 at Parkade Baptist

Whenever we collectively conjure up words, images and associations tied to the words “holidays” and “Christmas,” I think it’s safe to say that many of us tend to suffer from an “over-realized Hallmarketization” of what the Christmas season should look like. We tend to think of roaring fireplaces, hot mugs of cocoa with marshmallows, cheerful Christmas carols playing softly in the background, a perfect Christmas tree that would make Martha Stewart envious, and warm smiles all around.

Few (if any) of us would chime in with bright, holiday-themed suggestions such as “ugly verbal battle over his visitation plans in the parking lot of the mall” or “ongoing texting assaults laced with threats and profanities.”

And yet, while these examples may seem far-fetched, they are in fact painful realities for many. Sadly, these emotionally-scarring events are quite often the norm for those in our midst who have suffered through separation and divorce. As much as everyone might inwardly yearn for a peaceful, hassle-free holiday at home, it’s very often true that the deep trauma caused by the break-up of a family makes “peace on Earth” seem like a cruel, completely-unreachable impossibility.

We want to offer our kids, in particular, “a normal Christmas” while the ongoing tensions tied to managing everyone else’s expectations often leads to a breaking point. It’s difficult enough to offer kids of divorce a stable environment as they trudge through the day-to-day realities of school, friends, and differing parenting styles; the added stress of seeking to provide “the perfect Christmas” simply magnifies and exposes what is already true about the brokenness we would rather ignore.

Settling disputes over how, when and where we agree to celebrate the birth of Christ can often cause friction and hurt feelings within families that are still 100% intact, maritally speaking. Now imagine how infinitely more complex and volatile this becomes when a family has suffered through a divorce; people that could not get along and make concessions to one another while they were married are essentially asked to do this very thing as (all too often) “entrenched combatants.” The sadness can quickly get to a level where it feels overwhelming.

If any of this strikes a sorrowful chord with you, take heart! There is help available.

For the past four years, several volunteers at The Crossing have joined forces with the good folks over at Parkade Baptist to co-facilitate at least one session of a very helpful seminar entitled, “Surviving the Holidays.” This seminar is produced by Church Inititative, the same people who authored the DivorceCare curriculum also in use at The Crossing and Parkade. My wife Michele and I, having facilitated this seminar for four years now, think very highly both of the program and the folks at Parkade, so we encourage anyone who has recently gone through separation or divorce to attend.

Register online at www.parkadebaptistchurch.org or call 573-443-4585. There is a registration fee of $10 and child care is available. We look forward to seeing you there!

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (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.

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