Grief and the holidays

‘Tis the season of twinkling lights, holiday cheer, and frenzied shopping. But it is also a time of gathering darkness, short days and long, frosty nights. As the winter deepens around us, the natural world grows quiet: leafless trees and snowy meadows sheltering hibernating wildlife within.

December is also a time when loss may be felt acutely, as we remember those who are no longer physically with us and look toward all that is to come. During Advent, candles are lit as a symbol of hope, inviting us to pause and reflect. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus” which can be literally translated as “coming.”

Soon we will come to the winter Solstice, the shortest day followed by the longest night. This is when the shift begins. Soon after, we will gain a few more minutes of light each day. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, December darkness will give way to the new year.

As you prepare for the holidays in whatever way feels right to you, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on all that you have come through and all that you hope toward. The Light is coming and here — and with us always.


Optage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death.

If you are interested in joining a group, contact Optage Hospice or call 651-746-8200. Optage is the home and community services division of Presbyterian Homes & Services.



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