When Life Shines Through Grief in December


by Cathy Baker

Even as a young girl I prayed I wouldn’t lose my grandparents in December. Both sets lived nearby and played a major role in my upbringing, as well as making Christmas a special time for our family. I wanted that month preserved for good memories, not sad ones. A bit pollyannish I know, but it’s what I hoped for. And then I lost my grandmother on December 23, 2007.

I dreaded Christmas. I would be lying if I said it was anything but numbing, but as days passed, a renewed gratefulness for a Savior who would choose to come dwell with us began to emerge. Because of Christ, her passing wasn’t about death, but rather, life—true life.

Have you, or someone you know, lost a loved one this year?

While Christmas is a joyous season it can also be a lonely, tear-filled month for many. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject of grief or recovery but I believe the following ideas could be a meaningful step in the right direction in celebrating the life of a loved one during this season:

  • Be there. One of the best gifts we can give to another is our time, our energy, and a listening ear. They don’t need a lot of words, even the standard “comforting” ones. They simply need to be heard or given the freedom to be silent.
  • Help. Maybe a widow needs assistance in decorating, addressing Christmas cards, loading wood for a warm fire, or running errands.
  • Plant. Give them a perennial (returns every year) or a fragrant evergreen. In colder climates, consider giving them a gift certificate to a local nursery for spring planting. An added bonus? If you can be there to help plant it, it’s a great time to share memories about the person.
  • Memories. Speaking of memories, consider writing them down, being as specific as possible. Keep them for yourself or share them with another loved one left behind.
  • Give a gift that keeps giving. Gideon International will donate a Bible for $5.00 in memory of a loved one, with their name included on the Bible. They’ll also send a beautiful card to their loved one. If not Gideon, consider giving in memory through your church, Hospice, or another place that ministers beyond the temporal value.
  • Last, but certainly not least, pray. There’s no greater gift.

How have you shown love and compassion to someone who’s lost a loved one? Or perhaps you’ve been the recipient of such acts. I’d love to add your ideas to this list, if you’d like to share in the comment section.

Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s life, but it’s also a celebration of ours, because of His.




Cathy Baker

Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. As a twenty-five-year veteran Bible instructor, she's led hundreds of studies and workshops. She's also contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. In addition, her poetry can be found in several popular anthologies. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas where she one day hopes to have her very own Goldendoodle. Subscribe to Cathy's blog and receive a free e-book, Praying In Every Room of Your Home. http://www.cathybaker.org

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  1. I’m so glad you posted this, Cathy. So many of my friends have lost loved ones in the past few days and some who lost loved ones this fall. I can’t imagine the grief they must feel at this time other than remembering their loved one is celebrating Christmas with Him face to face.

    When I was a child, I often heard the story of my great grandfather, who was a believer. He knew the Lord was calling him home but prayed that the Lord would allow him to live through Christmas – for the grandchildren. He passed away a few days after Christmas in 1954. The Lord is good!

    1. Oh, Kathy, your family story is so special, and certainly one to cherish. Thank you for taking time during this busy season to share it. Blessings!

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