Prepare Yourself for Healing in the Coming Year

My worst New Year's Eve was the one when we had our daughter, Hope.

Our small group was at our house, celebrating the occasion. I found I had to slip away to my bedroom. I  pulled the covers over my head, holding Hope in my arms, wanting to wish away the entrance of another year.

Everyone on the other side of the house was wishing each other, "Happy New Year!" I knew the coming year was going to be the saddest of my life – the year I would have to bury my daughter.

When the next New Year's Eve came around, it felt painful once again. I was leaving behind the year in which I had known Hope. The milestone of the new year was a reminder that time was moving on, taking me further away from her.

But a new year is a new beginning. And God is a God of new beginnings. He is at work in us in each new year, healing and renewing and remaking. And He works through His Word.

While your family's holiday seasons likely will be sprinkled with occasional pain, these times can also be an opportunity to discover God in ways that you might not have been hungry for without the hurt of losing someone.

Your family may not have had a habit of reading the Bible together or praying together before your loss. Perhaps the holiday season will give you the opportunity to read God's Word as a family, using an Advent guide or devotional as Christmas approaches.

And you don't have to stop there. Perhaps the new year will prompt a resolution to begin setting aside time to allow God to speak into your lives, into your sorrow and questions. You might consider using a daily devotional such as The One Year Book of Hope, which I wrote specifically to help grieving people get into God's Word. I regularly hear from couples who read it together, and even long-distance relatives who read it together each day over the phone.

The practice of reading and talking about God's Word as a family is hard to get going – and even harder to keep going. But so much has changed in your household, this season could be the right time to start.

You don't have to hide during this holiday season, waiting for it to pass. You can choose to take care of yourself and prepare yourself for healing in the coming year.

Your family can enter into the Nativity with your sorrow and need and discover in a new way why the angel proclaimed, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10).

Excerpted from When Your Family's Lost a Loved One, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 by David and Nancy Guthrie. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.