Do you know someone who is hurting due to the death of a loved one, an illness, divorce, family conflict, or an unexpected life challenge or crisis?
The holidays are very hectic for most people, but they become extra challenging for those going through grief.
When family and friends offer kindness and encouragement, it can make all the difference in the world to those who are hurting.
Whether the person who is grieving is a family member, friend, fellow church member, coworker, acquaintance, or neighbor, you have the amazing opportunity to offer compassion, support, and HOPE this holiday season.
Choose to be a BLESSING!
Think about each of these tips, and while you’re reading them, think of who you can bless – starting this week!
Here are 7 practical tips for helping a grieving loved one during the holidays~
1. Offer encouragement to the person who is going through grief by sending them an I’m-thinking-of-you card or a phone call. Whether they lost a loved one a week ago, or many years ago, their loved one will always be loved, treasured, and missed. The holidays can be a painful reminder of the fact their loved one is no longer here. If possible, refrain from sending over-the-top cheerful holiday greetings and cards if their loss is recent. Instead, send a more peace-filled greeting card with a special heartfelt note.
2. Stay away from cliches such as, “They’re in a better place,” “God needed an angel,” or “God must have needed them more.” Although these statements are intended to make the grieving one feel better, it can often leave them hurting and frustrated. Try encouraging your loved one with loving words of remembrance such as, “I really miss _____, she/he was a such a wonderful person” or “I remember when we ________.” Reflection on the deceased loved one brings validation to family members left behind that their loved one was important, is missed, and they are still cared about. Most who have gone through grief still enjoy talking about their loved one. Bringing their loved one up is welcomed by most. You’re not going to hurt them by bringing up their loved one…their loved one is already on their heart. Also, at all costs, never say (or even hint or suggest) to someone who is going through grief to “get over it.” That’s worse than all cliches combined.
3. Take the bereaved person a Christmas wreath, cookies, or a Christmas flower arrangement. A small kindness and helpful gesture goes a very long way in encouraging someone who is going through grief.
4. Invite them to attend your Christmas church service, family holiday dinner, or join in your Christmas festivities. Peace, comfort, encouragement, and loving relationships are important to offer to the bereaved during the holidays. A griever may want to attend church, but may not have anyone to attend with. Sometimes, traditional family dinners can be challenging too. If you are a close enough family member or friend, they may welcome an opportunity for a new place and environment to go to for church, dinner, or holiday celebrations.
5. Invite your grieving loved one to a holiday movie, out for coffee, to a special Christmas church event, to see The Nutcracker, to dinner, or to go shopping with you. You can also invite them to an online Christmas Church service and watch it together. When someone is going through grief, they lose contact with the outside world as they are immersed in their pain. Many times, people do not know what to say to someone who is going through grief – so, unfortunately, they avoid seeing them altogether. Please let the grievers in your life know you care. An invitation can speak volumes of your love and concern for them.
6. Be patient with those in grief. Life as they once knew it has drastically changed. It takes time to find a new “normal” and to thoroughly understand the full impact their grief and loss will have. Allow them the time they individually need to grieve. Everybody grieves differently and that’s perfectly fine. Please do not become frustrated with someone who is in grief…trust me, they’re frustrated, too! Support, love, and encourage them.
7. Simply listen and be there. Sometimes, the best thing someone can do for a griever is to give them a hug with the gift of silence and a listening ear. Simply let them know someone truly cares. No words necessary…just be truly, genuinely caring and a good listener. And if they confide in you, please do not betray that precious trust. We all desperately want to say the magic words that will comfort loved ones in grief, but there simply are no words that can magically remove their heartache and pain. A trustworthy listening ear is more important than most realize.
Please consider whose life (and heart) you can make a difference in this week! Think of someone you know who is going through grief or a hard time and offer them hope and encouragement.
Have a very blessed and meaningful holiday season!
Gratitude & many blessings,
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❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5
6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv
7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus
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I lost my Mom last Thanksgiving day. I was numb and in shock, and that carried through Christmas. This year, I’m feeling the loss more deeply. I’ve been struggling so much. Nights are the worst, as I can’t seem to quiet my mind enough to rest. When I came across your reading plan on YouVersion, and read about you losing a loved one on Thanksgiving, it was such a blessing. Someone who KNOWS what that pain is like…someone who’s been there. Thank you. I’m praying as I go through this plan it will help.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mom! 😦 I’m thankful you found the Grief Bites reading plans and hope they’re an encouragement to your heart.
Holiday deaths can be very challenging, as you sadly know. I pray God sends you a strong support system of encouragers who can offer you support and compassion each Thanksgiving.
Something I found to be very helpful is to place a memory candle at the table during Thanksgiving dinner. You can share with others the significance of the candle or you can treasure it in your own heart. The first anniversary of my sister’s death, we set her usual place setting and placed the candle on her plate. Other years, we have just placed the candle on the table.
It’s just a comforting and peaceful way of remembering and honoring her memory and showing our love for her.
I’m praying for you and your family today. I pray God comforts your heart and carries you through this holiday season.
Thank you so much for this. I lost my mom in August 2018. It means the world that you include that there is no time limit for grief, especially since holidays are so different. I wish more people understood this, but they just assume that once you go through one holiday without your loved one, it is automatically better in following years. Praying for you, especially if you are dealing with grief, and praying that this blog continues to bless people. Thanks again, and thanks for the YouVersion plan suggestions!
You are very welcome & thank you!
I am so very sorry to hear about your mom. 😦
I agree. I found some holidays were worse as the years went on than the original first year holidays. There are things you just miss so much about a treasured loved one.💗
I hope the YouVersion plans are an encouragement to your heart.
Wishing you & your family a blessed & peaceful Christmas season!🎄