Those who research grief tell us that one of the six tasks of grieving is developing a new identity based on a life without the loved one we remember. The “Holiday” time of year is one when all the emotions and experiences of past, present and future come together to help us in the development of that new identity.
I’m very much an “eastern” Christian – more connected with eastern Christianity than west. The west emphasizes the crucifixion and resurrection, and even though they are very much a focus of Christianity, the Eastern Church focuses more on the Birth. I’m attracted more to Christmas than Easter and the reason is that because though Christ is resurrected and we glory in that, I am not yet resurrected. Christ has come in the flesh in the birth and lives with me know. The announcement to the shepherds is a passage of scripture that contains the themes of the fall holidays, and has created a new identity in us through the Emmanuel (God with us), living and manifesting His character in us now. We are a new species. We no longer fear or grieve with no hope – but are living identities of Christ’s body.