teaching tips blog


Dec 25, 2012

Honoring Lost Loved Ones, Meaningful Memory-Making, and Caring for Others During the Holidays

Faith Berens

   Christmas, is supposed to be a joyful and peaceful time of year, but for many people it may be anything but those.  We look around the world and see war, famine, and natural disasters. This time of year may be a time of grieving, hunger, loss, and loneliness.  In the wake of the tragic and senseless shootings that recently occurred in Connecticut, Christmas will be a sorrowful time for many.  The consultants here at HSLDA, and I’m sure the entire nation mourns with the families of Newtown.  This Christmas, let each of us lift them up in prayer; we pray that God will comfort them and give them His peace—the only peace that can transcend any and even the most devastating circumstances. 

   Personally, while I love Christmas and all that it means, this special holiday can also be bittersweet time of year, as I miss my loved ones that I have lost.  So, yesterday my mom, daughter, and I went to the cemetery to put ornaments on the Christmas, memorial wreaths that adorn the graves of my sister, grandfather, and aunt.  Out of the many boxes of decorations, my daughter carefully selected some of her hand-made ornaments and contributed those to be placed on the memorial wreaths.  Once at the cemetery, we each took turns attaching to the wreaths,ornaments and little gift-tag cards that contained simple, hand-written messages, prayers, or scriptures, as a way to honor and remember our loved ones. 

Make your own memorial ornaments.

   Ways that you and your family may choose to express Christ’s love and kindness and honor others: 

  • Put memorial ornaments in a stocking and on Christmas Eve take them out and hang them up
  • Light memorial candles in honor of those who have lost their lives in tragedies and war
  • Do random acts of kindness for others
  • Take the family to a living nativity
  • Serve a meal at a soup kitchen
  • Visit a nursing home and give needed items or read and sing to residents
  • Visit a hospital and take gifts to children’s ward
  • Donate money or items to food pantry, Salvation Army, shelter, or other charity
  • Make and deliver a meal or Christmas cookies to elderly, sick neighbors, and/or new parents
  • Send care packages to troops and soldiers serving in our military

   So, this Christmas, while my heart aches because of all the ills I see in the world, I will choose to rejoice in God, my Savior and remember that He is the gift of love—given for ALL the world.  HE is peace.  HE is joy.  And I pray especially this Christmas that all will find Him to be The Comforter and The Healer.  

Remember that Mercy and Love has triumphed!