November and December are two of my favorite months, but they can also be very difficult months for those who have recently experienced loss of a loved one, a job, or a dream. Loss affects everyone—even children. It is such a common issue that November is National Children’s Grief Awareness month, which should cause us to think how we can care for those who struggle. What would it look like to help someone during a time of great grief with the Hope found in Jesus? How can we point people to Hope in the midst of grief?
Create space for Hope. Sometimes the temptation can be to fill a person’s calendar with activity and busyness rather than allow that person to simply grieve. Children especially need a safe space to process, and if we load a kids calendar with activities, the space where those questions come pouring out is usually around bedtime! Unfortunately, no one has much left in the tank mentally or physically at the end of the day. Creating space while you have capacity to process is not only helpful to a child but helpful to anyone experiencing grief.
Hope has a name! Sometimes as parents we feel like we need to have all the answers. In Luke 7:13 and 8:52, Jesus repeats the phrase, “Do not weep” to two different parents who believed that their children had passed. He assures them when hope seemed lost that Hope had in fact arrived. We have the privilege as people who claim to know Jesus that children, as well as adults can have the confidence that Jesus is our Hope! These were parents that had run out of answers. It was at that vulnerable moment that Jesus introduced Himself! Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Not only does Hope have a name, but our Hope delivers help in our time of need.
Celebrate a new Hope. When a loved one passed away, a family member of mine was so devastated that she couldn’t find a reason to celebrate during the holidays. Everything reminded her of her loss. This is very normal, but there is hope. In the Bible, there is a story about a man named Nehemiah. The Bible describes Nehemiah as being overcome with grief at the destruction of his homeland and place of worship, so much so that he couldn’t execute his daily work. At the end of the book of Nehemiah, not only has Nehemiah’s spirit been renewed, he is found celebrating with others in his community! Were things exactly as they were before his experience of loss—no—but he celebrated the work that God was doing in His life. Hope came as he allowed others to come alongside him and he experienced how God could turn tragedy into triumph. It didn’t happen overnight, but God is in the business of bringing hope even out of times of great grief!