This past month, I wrote COVID-Speak and then COVID- Speak Part 2 and urged everyone to live out Phillipians 4:8. Well, here comes Part 3. The Christmas edition.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Of course, I am not going to retract my thoughts on the importance of thinking positively or reaching out in love toward others. Sending encouragement to your friends, family, neighbours and co-workers is very needed in this season, but I feel there is something else that needs to be said.

I am an all-or-nothing person. When I am happy, I am fully optimistic and excited about everything in life. I like to be happy and tend to resist admitting it when I am sad. However, when I am sad, I am all-in on being sad! I tend to let it all out in a vent-session, complaining about everything down to the last detail  – “Who left crumbs on the counter?”, “I need new socks!” AND, “There’s no China Lily soy sauce anywhere!?”.  My very patient husband helps me navigate my not-so-nice feelings, and I very quickly go back to my “life is good” self.

In Psalms, the author, David, cries out to God for approximately 40% of the book!

“Why have you forsaken me?”

“My soul is in deep anguish. How long Lord, how long?”

Christmas wreath - Photo credit Annie Spratt

David models for us how to get honest with our pain. If we only focus on being positive and try to live out Philippians 4:8 exclusively, we are missing out.

Why is it important to “lament” or recognize our losses?

  1. It acknowledges the reality of our suffering.
  2. It emphasizes the fact that life is messy. (In case you need a reminder – your friends on FB and Instagram have messy lives too… you just don’t see it!)
  3. It helps us move from a place of darkness to a place of light.

This Christmas, you may be missing out on a table full of friends and family. You may be grieving the loss of loved ones. You may be trying to navigate how to care for a loved one in a senior’s home. You may be a doctor or nurse – exhausted,  with a spouse and kids that miss you. You may be alone – fighting anxiety or having a hard time getting out of bed from struggles with depression.

We do need to think of lovely things and stay positive, but let’s not forget the importance of lament. I am working on finding balance in this area.

I pray that you will have moments of deep joy, and that you will also take time this Christmas to lament what weighs on your heart. Allow God to meet you there, and perhaps He will show you something lovely in the process.

Kriston Martens

Kriston is the Director of Recruitment for Horizon College & Seminary

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