Grief

A Season of Waiting

A handle being lit in the darkness

Every year it’s the same. Once Thanksgiving and Halloween have passed, retailers and advertisers are intent that the world should think “Christmas” (and shopping). Suddenly the festive décor is up, carols are heard everywhere, and strangers greet one another with seasonal cheer. To many of us these are welcome changes, no matter how early they appear. What believer wouldn’t prefer to see wholesome ads featuring families by firelight, rather than images that appeal to baser desires? But in the rushRead more

Be still, my soul

A tranquil lake - listen

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10 (KJV) “Be still, my soul” by Katharina von Schlegel (1752), trans. Jane Laurie Borthwick (1855): Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He, faithful, will remain. Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Be still, my soul:Read more

On platitudes

Embroidery

Grace for the one who hurts: Platitudes are ubiquitous. You know what I mean. I’m talking about the things that people commonly say when faced with someone who is suffering. They roll off the tongue. Phrases like, “This too shall pass,” “Everything happens for a reason,” and “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Most of us feel a certain distaste for platitudes, and for good reason. When we’re hurting (whether physically or emotionally), we long for thoseRead more

Fairies in the garden, elves on the bookcase

Fairy statue seated on moss

We’ve all been there: Have you ever been through a rough patch and longed to read something that would speak hope into your life? Or have you ever tried to support a hurting friend, wanting to offer some reading material that would serve that same purpose? Perhaps you’ve longed for a way to speak peace and comfort into your friend’s life, but feared seeming presumptuous or saying the wrong thing. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve considered about ten heavyRead more

An Advent Service for those who Grieve

Hands in the darkness, cupping a lighted candle

In recent years there has been a greater recognition that the season leading up to Christmas – with all its emphasis on joy and family – can be a heart-breaking time for many. December is hard for those who are grieving, lonely or suffering. In consideration of this, some churches, hospitals and cemeteries offer a service that has become affectionately known as “Blue Christmas.” The sad irony for me is that much of the “pre-Christmas” season is a time whenRead more