About the Author

Alia Joy is an author who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. She writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope in...

Related Resources & Gifts
Find more at DaySpring.com
Related
Resources
& Gifts
Find more at
DaySpring.com
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Alia Joy,
    I have often wondered why I seem to like the days after Christmas the best. The tree is still lighted and the presents have long been unwrapped. The cookies are gone and there is a quiet hush. I think it’s because, like you so beautifully pointed out, we are trying to be as we think we “should” be at Christmas – full of joy, gratitude, merriment, adoration…but the reality is that it is often accompanied by grief, regret, hurt, pain… The truth is that joy and pain can coexist, but somehow I/we feel that should not be the case at Christmas. For me too – the expectation of Christmas shines a spotlight on what is missing – a parent who has passed, a prodigal who is not at the dinner table, a marriage partner who has left. Sometimes it’s almost a relief to get through Christmas. Thank you for the permission granted to be easy on ourselves. Drop the “should’s” and the “I ought to’s” and just be. God came for us just as we are and He is enough in whatever condition we find ourselves. Thank you….needed this!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • This is exactly how I feel. My dad passed away 2 years ago this past October & the grief is still there. I struggled to listen to Christmas music because it brings to mind memories that are both precious & painful. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • I believe this one to be the most profound word I’ve read. Grief is lingering and heartfelt and soulfelt and spirit felt. I applaud you for your honestly and ability to bear it all so that we can be assured of the Christ in us all.

  2. I called into work sick today, the 2nd day this week (which I NEVER do). I couldn’t get out of bed for the past 5 days and hadn’t showered or got out of my pajamas. (Ew, I know)

    I’ve suffered from depression for over 30 years, “high functioning”, and under the care of a psychiatrist. I called her this morning and “confessed” my decline…… and she told me to just shower and return to bed.

    God fed Elijah in the cave. I have such high expectations on myself (pride?) and her telling me that it’s OK to be gentle on myself was like a healing balm. And this article confirms it. As women, we just have to be PERFECT. All.the.time. It’s so incredibly exhausting. And then throw in the holidays, and my coping skills (without God’s strength, of course!) are just so overwhelmed.

    This article reminded me that Jesus’ grace is sufficient. I don’t have to DO just BE and not be so harsh but be gentle on myself. Thanks for the encouragement. It was clearly Holy Spirit inspired (timely).

  3. Dear Alia Joy, this is the second Christmas without my mom. It has been an emotional month. Your feelings mirror my own. I actually woke up while still dark,came downstairs to light the tree, and sit in the quiet. While looking at the lights and the manger I’m hoping for the moment of peace. Your post reminded me that I can still celebrate Christmas,even if my heart is aching.

  4. Thanks for this. It was my fifth Christmas without my beloved husband and can so relate. Hope you have a wonderful year ahead. At least we grieve with hope knowing we will all be together again soon! Sharon

  5. I love the longing in your words that reminds me that we are a people who wait. So thankful to be waiting in community and reading words that bring joy and peace.

  6. Wow Alia! Absolutely beautifull! I know the pain of feeling like I’m not enough or that I’m not doing enough. I also know the longing. But your words have spoke to my heart. On this side of Heaven we will always be longing, even know we are blessed and full. We will be longing for Heaven and the day when we see our great Savior face to face. Thank you for sharing this today. I pray that you and your family have a happy, healthy, peace filled New Year! Xoxo ❤

  7. I think I am going to print this and put it away with my Christmas decorations so I can read it at the beginning of the Season. You nailed my self-talk, the guilt of not feeling-it.
    Thank you.
    Love.
    jeri

  8. All of the yes! Christmas seemed easier when my kids were little. It was easy to get caught up in the excitement. The kids are teens. We lost my grandma and my dad a month apart 4 summers ago. One of my mom’s dogs was really sick this Christmas and was put to sleep yesterday. It all adds up to forgetting the real point of Christmas.

  9. Perfect timing. Sunday marks 2 years since my son’s passing. I feel beaten. The one thing that helps is having my grandchildren around. I feel like my family fell apart since his passing. He was the baby of the family
    One of his siblings who is closest in age to him pulled away after his passing and has made a mess of her life. She
    .gotten into trouble with the law (misdeanors), just so many things! My husband and I just coexist because he continually wants to come to her rescue “for the sake of her kids” and I disagree. I ask for prayer for strength and guidance and most of all peace.

  10. Alia,

    People put expectations on themselves to be “jolly” at Christmas. This is often not the case. Many people are grieving losses or dealing with illnesses. Just go visit nursing homes or assisted livings and you see elderly people who don’t even know what day it is or why we are celebrating. Yes we need to give ourselves permission to be gentle and not get upset if we don’t have a “perfect” Christmas or aren’t in the Christmas spirit.

    Have a blessed New Year!

  11. Alia, your post was so beautifully written, so heartfelt, so true and states exactly how I’ve been feeling during this Christmas season. Missing my precious daughter who went to heaven last March and my five year old granddaughter who is now living so far away because my son remarried and chose a new location for their home. I’ve been going through the motions, feeling so bad that I’m not happy like I’m supposed to be and knowing I should be rejoicing over why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Your words made such sense to me! We’re not there yet. We still anticipate what’s to come. The healing, the reunion, the reason for why Jesus did what he did. While having my weekly cry and admitting to my husband I didn’t know how to handle the hurt especially through the holidays, wondering why our daughter had to die, my husband told me I need to remember that Jesus also had to die. He was born and then had to die for us out of pure unconditional, sacrificial love. So our daughter’s death has meaning also. And it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning for her! So thank you for such an inspiring post and a reminder to me that we’ll get there; we’ll understand and we’ll be free from the sadness of this world eventually. In the meantime, I will be try to be gentle with myself. God bless you and your family as you travel this journey along with the rest of us who are grieving as well.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing. I have felt all those things this year; we live far from family, my Dad passsed away 11 years ago and I am working retail so I did not have much energy to decorate at home. Thanks for giving me permission to grieve and be okay with not being enough. So encouraging! I need to give myself grace.

  13. I am 60 years old, married, no children. Nieces and nephews grown up, some married. Holidays change over the years, how we spend them. I have some friends from school who are going through extremely bad health challenges now.
    Instead of wishing people a happy new year on Facebook I wrote a post asking for prayer for people who are dealing with health challenges and also wishing that people find peace and contentment as they live their lives.
    God bless.

  14. Alia Joy, I always thrill when I see your name here because you speak your truth which often shows me my truth. Thank you beyond any words for your honesty and transparency. You remind me to slow down and be, not do, and most important, to be kind to myself! Thank you for that.

  15. I can finally breathe now, sorta. 2 years ago our family was hit time and again with heavy loss of loved ones (4 deaths and a broken arm) over the holidays. I had 3 grown children needing me and I had a newly broken arm in my own struggle and I could not be ‘there’ for all of them. Altho the losses were close relationships of my grown children I have to be ‘the mom’ , strong and encouraging, needing answers for them that I don’t have. Come January the pressure will be less but I still have to be ‘the mom’ to these hurting grown children. This year we are having to help my mom emotionally prepare for the nursing home. I don’t have it in me but I breathe, and talk to Jesus who has promised to heal the brokenhearted.

  16. With other commenters, I say thank you, Alia, for stating the honest truth: we do “live in the longing” for the time when Jesus will reign over us in his perfect kingdom and grief will be no more. You are so right: when sadness does overshadow joy, a bit of waiting and resting in our Shepherd’s arms IS the wisest course of action.

  17. Yes, be gentle with yourself. We all grieve in different ways and different times. There is no time limit on grief. I am thankful that God holds us in His loving arms as we grieve. He cries with us.

  18. Wow, I totally relate to your insights and honesty. I really appreciate it. Life situations keep changing as we get older and our children get older and we lose family members. This is much harder than I ever imagined. We are now at least in a church where there is some support, more than we had, but that can also be disappointing.
    Really good thoughts.