Updated: Dec 26, 2022
Irene Peterson, a Sacred Sorrows contributing writer, shares a few insights in this special Christmas Eve post. She lost her beloved son Kai in December 2010 and discovered Sacred Sorrows as a retreat participant in the spring of 2022.
In case no one has noticed, "The holidays" are not my favorite time of year. "Bah humbug" is one of the top sentiments I mutter under my breath for about 8 weeks. Of course I can't say these things aloud or to others because I think it's really thoughtless and cruel to those who love this season.
I'm not a great housekeeper. In fact, I don't love that either. But, clean up I must because chaos also stresses me out. I can't possibly do laundry or dishes without music, but I'm not a fan of Christmas music. It feels repetitive, often silly, inane, a reminder of Christmases past when my family was all here - it's not particularly soothing in any way. So, I often listen to ANYTHING else. The other day I had to wrap a pile of gifts (another one of my least favorite activities), and I decided to try to find a playlist with James Taylor. I know I'm totally dating myself here, but James Taylor was pretty popular when I was in high school, and I find his voice really soothing. My favorite of his songs is "Shower the People You Love with Love." I don't even know who wrote it - it just makes sense to me. I think that for those of us who have lost children, it has even more meaning.
So, I was tackling my pile of wrapping, calmly doing my Christmas duty, getting through "Shower the People," "Mexico," "How Sweet it is to be Loved by You," "Sweet Baby James," when a really old one began to play... actually written by Carole King.
"When you're down and troubled, and you need a helping hand...." I had heard this song about a million times, but suddenly, it had a brand new meaning. "Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there, to brighten up even your darkest hour." I thought to myself, "Wow this is weird, this sounds like Jesus talking to me," and it continues: "You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I'll come running, to see you again. Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call, and I'll be there yeah yeah yeah, you've got a friend, ain't it good to know, you've got a friend, when people can be so cold... they'll hurt you, and desert you, and take your soul if you let them, but don't you let them."
The older ones among us may recognize "You've got a friend." I really never thought of Jesus as my friend, I just thought of him as some distant deity that was sort of in heaven living the life...but these lyrics suddenly sounded tailor-made for this time of year, for anyone who is stressed or struggling.
Holy cow. Now this is something I can use, especially this time of year....Jesus on speed dial. It sounds a little hokey, but, I'll take it. Thank you Jesus.