For many people, the joyous season of Christmas is NOT a time of joy. For them, it is a time of depression and sorrow.
Why would such a joyful time as the annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ be a time of depression and sorrow? For some, it is because they are estranged from their family, or maybe they suffered the loss of a family member or a close friend on or near Christmas. So the time of year in which many people enjoy quality time with their family is turned into a time in which their sorrows are reawakened, or even made more poignant. Maybe for other people, the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child is an annual reminder of the loss of their own child (or several children) through miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. Thinking of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph and their joy at the birth of Jesus is a reminder of the pain of their own personal loss.
Is there an answer to this pain, sorrow and depression? YES!! Let us remember that the Christ Child did not come into this world to save the perfect — “I did not come to save the [self-]righteous, but sinners” — He came to save all of us, with all of our sins, sorrows, struggles, and, yes, our depression. If you are grieving, if you are suffering from the loss of a child, remember that Jesus came to save both you and your child. He came to restore our broken relationship with God our Loving and Merciful Father. He came to save us from all of our sins and to heal all of our wounds. Come to Him! Open your heart to Him and share your sorrows with Him! And remember that His Mother, Mary, experienced sorrow as well as joy at His birth — the sorrow of having no suitable shelter for her Divine Son, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords — the sorrow of only having a stable (a cave) in which to give birth and to provide Him shelter from the cold.
If you (or a loved one) are hurting from abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard retreats are offered nearly every weekend at many different locations throughout the United States and even around the world. These retreats provide a safe and confidential place in which we can share our pain and grief with others, in which we can grieve the loss of our children, and experience the forgiveness and healing that the Christ Child came to bring to all of us. The next Rachel’s Vineyard retreat that we will be holding in western Kentucky will take place at the Passionist Monastery Retreat House in Whitesville, the weekend of January 13-15, 2017. For information on this retreat, or to register, please contact us using the phone number or email at the bottom of our website.