Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Christmas Without Them

As beautiful and joyous as Christmastime can be, it can be equally painful for those still suffering from the loss of a loved one--especially if this is their first Christmas without them. 

James Ferdinand Irwin's family singing carols at early family reunion Christmas celebration marking safe return of sons fr. WWII (L-R) Mr. Irwin, Scotty, Carolyn, Betty Roush, Jim, Myra Lee Love, Jack, Jeanne Haney, Mrs. Irwin, Jeff Haney, Levern Love, Beth Love.© Time Inc. Myron Davis (Photo found on:
The EWTN online Advent devotional I've been reading throughout Advent suggests sending a letter to someone you know who has lost a loved one this last year.  Today's blog post "A Different Kind of Christmas List" by Jennifer Fulwiler suggests doing the same. 

It's so easy in the hustle, bustle, and excitement of the season to forget about those who are feeling alone and in pain.  In her blog post, Fulwiler shares the words of two people who recently lost a loved one.  They said that they felt alone in their pain during Christmas and that those who gave them a phone call, sent an e-mail, or wrote a card lifted them up.

Fulwiler took the idea of writing the letter further.  She says this is what she's going to do:
I’m going to write a list of the contact information of people I know who may be aching for lost loved ones, and bring it with me to my Christmas celebrations. And in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas day, I’ll carve out time to send an email or make a quick phone call to let them know I’m thinking of them, and that they’re in my prayers.
I love that she's keeping the physical list of people with her as she runs errands, goes to Christmas parties, attends Mass, etc.  It's a tangible reminder to keep those people and their deceased loved ones in prayer. 

I'm stealing this idea.  Since I'm at home more than I'm out and about, I'm posting these people's names on my bathroom medicine cabinet and kitchen counter.  That way, after the letters are written, I am still reminded to continue to lift them up in prayer.
The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are on my brain since my 8th grade religious education students are learning them.  In addition to comforting your loved one, this simple action lives out two spiritual works of mercy: comforting the afflicted and praying for the living and the dead. 

Do you know someone who could use a phone call, e-mail, or letter?  

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