1. This post from Desiring God on What Grieving People Wish You Knew at Christmas. This has been a hard year for so many of us — either hte grief is new or it's simply getting a bit sharper with time. This post speaks very honestly about how holidays can be intensely bittersweet when you're grieving.
Dad died over a year ago, and the first Christmas without him was one where momentum largely carried us through it. We barely stopped long enough to let ourselves think about it.
This year's different. This year, we've had plenty of time for it to settle in. This year, my brother and I weren't able to come back to Illinois like we normally do, so the holiday wasn't quite so full for any of us.
This year, I have friends who are mourning babies they don't get to hold, I have family mourning. We're missing something.
This blog speaks well to how it feels, to what we want people to hear from us even if we can't say it out loud. How you can want to say, "I don't want to talk about it" even when you're aching for someone to understand just why you don't want to talk about it.
This Christmas, to be honest, has been harder.
It's harder to have a Christmas with two babies, one of whom my father was never able to meet (although I think he had his hand in her arrival, anyway). It's harder to have this Christmas without being there with my mom, my sister's family, my brother and his wonderful wife. It's harder to miss Christmas in Illinois while missing my dad.
And it's comforting to read people who 100% understand what I mean by that.
2. This lovely print (and all of her other lovely prints) from Kate Whitley over at Little Things Studio. Her prints and designs are gorgeous, and the quotes that she chooses range from hymns to more secular quotes like that above.
I suggest just clicking over to her shop and kind of wandering through everything. Even her abstract designs are beautiful.
I ordered her 2017 Hymn Calendar as part of our Christmas present for my mom and ended up ordering one for myself as well. Just beautiful.
3. This perfect post from Tue / Night on The Season of Giving In.
To be a parent is to live in abject chaos 365 days a year, and nothing gets more chaotic than the holidays. Pressure is added to buy presents and get them wrapped and prep for Santa and just do everything on top of the everything you're already doing.
The post talks about the difference between "giving" everything to your children and "giving in", and how the latter is what allows you to really make the most of the moment.
We read the phrase "giving in" as a negative one, as succumbing to something, as giving up. But to say this is the season of "giving in" is really just another way to say we'll make this the season of "saying yes". Of giving in to the moment. Of living in the right now, the way that our kids do.
Seriously, the post is lovely. Go read it.
4. This encased wall hanging by Meredith Piper, entitled "Fall in Greenville."
Meredith Piper is a local artist I just stumbled onto while scrolling the #yeahTHATgreenville hashtag on Instagram. It's the "official hashtag" of our city here in South Carolina, and I really do love just scrolling through it to see what everyone else here is up to.
I ended up seeing a really pretty work Meredith had done and clicked through to her shop, to find this, which is essentially my favorite colors in one place and put together in a really interesting way.
Check out her shop here on etsy, she has more traditional paintings as well.
5. To end things essentially where we began, I guess... this beautiful post from Sarah Bessey: A Prayer for the Broken-Hearted at Christmas.
If Christmas was hard for you, whether grieving a death or a different kind of loss or hardship, Sarah Bessey's prayer is for you.
Sarah's one of my favorite writers (I own both her books and I'm a pretty shameless fangirl waiting for her third), and she writes about Jesus and faith and the difficulties surrounding life as a Christian with beauty and enthuasiasm, someone who knows you can be full-hearted for God and also balk at the way Christianity tends to present itself these days.
Her prayer for the broken-hearted is beautiful, and painful, and wonderful.
It seems the perfect post to end with.