Holidays can be a mixed bag of forced smiles or seeds of tradition

The highs and lows of the holidays have left me quite queasy.

Scrolling through Facebook recently, I found another queasy friend. Her post read:

“Currently crawling out of a funk… Please remember that while all the shiny happy Christmas cheer is awesome – hopelessness, loneliness, and sadness is lurking close to the surface in many of the people you pass by.”

I can relate to the lurking sadness. I am preparing myself for Christmas and attempting to muster up all the spirit I can find. I am singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. After all, this is one of the best ways to spread Christmas holidaysadnesscheer and I am hoping the cheer infiltrates my soul.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m no Grinch. I just found that every time someone asked me at the jump start of the season, “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” – my heart shrank a little.

While trying to answer about all my holiday plans, I would force a smile. I still force a smile.

My smile is forced because these questions send me on a journey back to when my Mema was the gracious host of the season. The energy in the house on Thanksgiving mornings was electric. I loved seeing the table decorated, and watching it swell with pride as it waited to seat welcome guests. Many of the guests that once sat around that table now sit around a much grander table with a Host that only Heaven can hold. Oh, how I miss them.  My heart just hurts.

Thanksgiving and Christmas is now my responsibility. Transitioning from participant to host has left me feeling a bit empty. I long to pick up the phone and ask Mema a million questions, questions I couldn’t even ask when I finally knew to ask them because Alzheimer’s stole her long before the grave did.

Recently a sweet friend allowed me the opportunity to pour my heart out. She offered me a beautiful new perspective.

“My friend, you weep now, but I see a huge crowd in your future!”

She reminded me I do not do this for me, but for the generations on the horizon! My heart may hurt now, but what a glorious future waits! I need to continue these sweet traditions for the three little ones under my roof. Today is not about me.

I am finding the strength I need for the holiday season in Psalms 126:5-6.

Those who cry as they plant crops
will sing at harvest time.
Those who cry
as they carry out the seeds
will return singing
and carrying bundles of grain.

I cried a little on Thanksgiving as I baked the turkey and prepared the corn pudding, but I smiled as I thought of the singing in my future as I welcome family members I’ve not even met yet into my home!

This photo represents my future traditions

I might cry as I plant the seed of traditions, but I will sing when I get to see my own

children carrying these traditions within their own families.

“Weeping must not hinder sowing; we must get good from times of affliction. “
 – Matthew Henrys Commentary

We must not grow weary in continuing traditions that hold families together, for we WILL reap a great harvest if we do not give up! (Galatians 6:9) Our weeping must not hinder the sowing. The holidays may bring great sorrow, but there is a greater purpose for our pain when we work through it and press on to the brighter days that lay before us!

Oh my sweet friends:
You may cry as you hang the ornaments
You will sing again
You may cry as you pass out the presents
Joy will return to your heart
For a baby bundled in a manger of grain
Made a way for all things
To be new again

I pray that you do not grow weary this season and you find strength in His promises that you will sing at harvest time!

“If you can’t see His way past the tears, trust His heart.”
 – Charles Spurgeon

Erica Pearson,






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