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December 8, 2019 1:00 am
In this episode, the groups discuss the “empty chair” many of us experience during the holidays. How do we cope when we’ve lost a loved one and the place they once had at the table is now empty? If you can relate to this feeling, it’s our prayer that the encouragement these friends offer to each other is a tremendous blessing to you.
SERIES: At The Table
The Salvation Army you're listening to wonderful words of life close being made to into the brain and the calm of the day on lines on new man. The a welcome back everybody and welcome to you Mr. producer person Chris Benjamin, I'm excited to be here were glad you're back and in front of a microphone as opposed to behind it to you the listener. If you missed last week's episode. We began a special Christmas series of wonderful words of life.
It's a series unlike anything we've done before and we really hope it's a blessing to you this Advent season. I'm really excited about this just to have five weeks of basically people just sharing their testimonies and supporting each other and this week is definitely a powerful one as we begin to discuss the the empty chair than many of us experience during the holidays. Yet Christmas is usually upbeat spells and music and happiness and joy and gifts but inevitably people of lost relatives or go through a trial of some sort that just leave you not feeling happy. A couple of our friends. In this episode the here and that they were really vulnerable in sharing some of the painful experiences that they've had and things that actually happened around Christmas so Christmas is supposed to be this time of celebration.
But it's also an anniversary of someone that they lost and we know there's so many people out there that can relate. And if you're one of those people know that you're not alone. As you hear from several people in the segment. If you are struggling this Christmas season.
Please tell us how we can pray for you or how we might be able to help you send us an email at email@example.com or call 1-800-229-9965. This Christmas, you're invited to fight for the hungry, hurting and helpless to fight struggling to keep a roof over their heads make ends meet and survive holidays to fight for justice all year long. You're sustaining my thinking just $25 Salvation Army's ability to taste our neighbors join the fight for good Salvation Army. What's it like when there is sort of the literal or or symbolic chair around the room someone has passed, how how do we deal with our was my sister my my father died when I was very young and with alcoholism, so there was never really Christmas tradition that Christmas family, but my sister was my stability and when I went to training my first year I came home and was with my sister and then she wasn't there and she actually had committed suicide near and so from that moment on. Christmas was never the same and then I remember my first year as an officer, you're so excited to help all these families and raise all the money and and I can remember on Christmas Eve I lived on the building and someone knocking on the door and a man with his children didn't have anything unique one and I'm so excited you know toys and getting and I gave them the fate of the kids were just all happy and everything was so great and then I shut the door and realized I was by myself.
And tomorrow is Christmas day and I was by myself and I worked so hard to make Christmas wonderful for all these people and yet it was probably one of my course Christmas is ever which is so ironic because I had just worked so hard to make Christmas so wonderful for so many people and I realize as I think of my single officer friends are there others that they go through something for eyes. It's almost 5 years now. My children's father Keith, who is the love of my life despite my marriage passed away suddenly from the 15th we went to sleep a column.
The night is only 44 so five years and so my memories that are just waking up to my children to myself just trying to figure out the next morning I looked around me Christmas for 10 days out on Christmas is II was very difficult to Christmas shop went to the mall and I relate to this because were very similar. Anything for the kids had shot and I walked in when doing this supposed to be Christmas time there were supposed to, and I knew that my children's Christmas and always look a little bit different. Take me a while to be okay. It's taken me a while to force the Christmas in a mansion and to just be gentle and invite the Christmas that is has changed over the last five years I learned that I carried in the first year the grief of my children versus my son like heavy coat.
I was so worried about the children here so the next Christmas. It took me that feeling that he talked about starting and I didn't know where it came from, what is the wisest man Green Tree servicing being so Christmas looks different press there's no way to plan it.
We have learned to appreciate our family can laugh about and so were able to remember hand in all the mess. When my grandfather died we saw a shift in our family and so we see that you we really thought this was like for like. We saw that there's people who were moved to would like to either like distant himself, or that from our family or just was, their own lives. There's another part of me where you know working for me and knowing the nation, and I understand that pushing the pool. I some people are working from a place where it's unhealthy and emotionally draining and so just covering up all his busyness because it just distracts from there feeling Christmas this time of the we had wheat so my brother, my dad is one of four brothers and realize like mine, and I always talk about it is like they're all kind of like our dad like they all play this really important father figure role in our lives and a few years back my son, my uncle. He is the oldest and he lives in California but were super super close for vacation and he came she been dealing with cancer, esophageal cancer, he came, and I remember it was the first scene. My sister got to go to counseling the first time I saw him since things had gone really bad and him and my aunt came and they spent Christmas and he's super sick I mean like he had.
He had to drink like his step got his medicine and selling. I remember walking this like men and selling an ally like now Christmas is hard because you passed away that year following that Christmas and so fast. It is a little bit difficult in our house because like we don't get like we lost like my dad like when all the brothers get together like always start out with laughter and other childhood stories like it always sounds like okay like Denny's not here you now and part of the missing like part of dad is missing, and for us like we were so fortunate to get that last Christmas in our home but like to celebrate Christmas in our home and my kind of have to deal with like like the memories of like okay he was here in the season and we were really blessed. But now we have to celebrate like in this with this loss. I think like that I relate without like that melancholy comes along with all the celebration and the excitement in this string.
In this like birth the birth of Christ.
At the same time you know you can't help but like face some of those like feelings and the sadness that can come with a loss at a time like that so Christmas for me.
I hate the business aspect Christmas visit by if I hate anything that Christmas is not merely anything related to Jesus is just the over marketing for money purposes. You know, let's get as many sales out there is just be it. I feel I could just take away from the message of Christ.
Overall, but, like Caleb, I love my grandma on Christmas Eve so is like a bittersweet name better because you know you lose some ideations like it's always hard, but sweet because they both knew Jesus and love Jesus so much. You know so so for me, Christmas is the perspective of Jesus you know that with extravagant gifts in my things that don't matter. You know, so for me is more relational thing I want to be with people that are close to people that I find to be my family can be rough but at the same time keep in pursuit of exactly you know you got through it. Christmas is one of the time there several times but were the times when my thinking anyway when culture and scripture are at odds there's attention because culture would tell us the Christmas should be homework right you know with the snow comes at just the right time and the person says just the right thing and it should be a happy will, of course, we all want happiness Christmas what Christ says what Scripture tells us is Christmas represents hope is a difference between hope and happiness.
Christmas comes with the promise of hope there is good news of the Savior who Christ so that hope is what you can hang onto because we all understand that the happiness that we all want. That's fleeting that that's like catching lightning in a bottle. The Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army USA.org to offer your support and we would love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at PO Box 29972, Atlanta, GA 30359 when you contact us will send you our gift for this series is totally free for listeners like you, one per household, while supplies last.
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