Sometimes it happens that I get into a funk this time of year.
I am not sure why, because I truly love the season of Advent and the preparation for Christmas.
The last couple of years, we haven’t been able to put a tree in our tiny apartment, so I decorate with the space we have and anticipate a bigger space in the future.
But just because everything is decorated, doesn’t mean the emptiness goes away.
I don’t really know the answer to that question. But I’ve also learned that it’s OK to feel this way. We all have moments in our lives that feel empty. We are going about our days of routine and not stopping to rest or just to be.
When I have stopped, it’s hard to embrace the emptiness.
But this week, I’ve seen others experience emptiness.
One block from our home, a fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but six families lost their homes or had significant damage.
It’s two weeks until Christmas and they have nothing. Their homes are empty.
On the news there has been talk about the anniversary of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary this week. The town has asked the media to stay away and let them grieve on their own. They already feel the emptiness and as painful as it is, they don’t want their lives filled with unwanted attention on what is already an overwhelming and painful day.
I saw this video, shared by one of the families who lost a loved one on that December morning. I share it because of the authentic emptiness and raw love being experienced and shown.
A mom shares her grief and the emptiness she feels, in a way where she allows us to grieve with her. There is no way I could or would want to truly experience what she is feeling, but she opens her heart to receive the love and prayers of others.
I think that’s what we need to do when we feel empty.
Accept this feeling, as unwanted as it may be.
Acknowledge the love God is giving to us and the prayers he is answering by being present with us.
Whether it’s the physical emptiness of losing a home and all of your belongings,
Or an emotional emptiness of the death of a loved one who was so young and full of life,
Or a spiritual emptiness that really can’t be explained.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God with us”). – Matthew 1:23
Immanuel literally means, “God with us” and he truly is in this season of preparation and this season of grief.