For Those Sad and Sorrowing

Every year.

But perhaps especially this year, there are those dwelling amongst us in the midst of tinsel and holiday, who are filled with tremendous sorrow and pain and loss.


Perhaps you are one of those who cannot stop crying, even as the radio stations play “Deck the Halls” and sponsor Ugly Christmas Sweater contests? It’s just too, too much, and sometimes you just wish it were over…

Several years ago during a concert, singer/songwriter Michael Card told my church family that he identifies with those who are depressed during Christmas. In fact, he even said that out of the 400+ songs he has written, his most favorite is “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows.” As I heard him sing it in our 1761 century Meetinghouse that evening, it soon became one of my favorites as well.

“In this most holy place, He’s made a sacred space, for those who will enter in and trust to cry out to Him. And you’ll find no curtain there, no reason left for fear. There’s perfect freedom here, to weep every unwept tear.” (Michael Card)

Not your typical Christmas carol. But appropriate for all who weep. That child who was born into a dark and evil world – Christ – was born to join us in our pain. “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood…” (John 1.14 MSG) This Christ child was also “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53) He knows what our lives are like. And that’s why He came — to sit with us in our sorrow, to guide us in our bewilderment, and to give us hope to take the next step.

EmmanuelGod with us — is the great good news for all who weep today.

If you are someone who is struggling to lift up your sorrows, perhaps these few suggestions from a counselor can help you adjust your holiday expectations: 

1. Talk about your feelings. It’s okay to be sad, even when others are not. Opening up with safe and supportive family and friends can be a great way to cope. Also talking with your pastor, a counselor or support group can be especially helpful.

2. Make a plan to honor one you’ve lost. There are many ways to do this- anything from watching their favorite Christmas movie, to lighting a candle at the dinner table, to hanging a special ornament on the tree can all help you feel connected to that person. Don’t be afraid to say their name, to reflect on happy holiday memories spent with that person or look at old photos. While those things may often bring tears, they can also bring comfort.

3. Give yourself permission to change your usual traditions. It’s ok to not go out and about if that feels overwhelming. It’s ok to skip putting out all the decorations you normally would. It’s ok to cook less, or not at all. During times of grief and loss, it’s most important to take good care of yourself. Over-scheduling and pressure are especially hard to handle, so eliminate everything that is draining, and make time for comforting and resting.

4. Connect with loved ones. While over-scheduling is not good, isolating can lead to depression. Even if you can’t visit in person, connecting to others is crucial. Often friends and family don’t know how to help when someone is grieving. There are probably several people in your life who have said “If you need anything, let me know.” Ask them to call you every few days and tell them you might need to call them just to cry or talk.

5.  Try to spend time in prayer, reading your Bible and worship. Remember that God cares for you. It’s ok to feel angry with God during grief, but try not to allow that feeling to keep you from Him. Lament. God experienced the loss of His own son Jesus and can empathize with your pain. The Bible says, “God is close to the broken-hearted…” (Psalm 34:18). It also says that “He heals the broken hearted…” (Psalm 147:3)

Remember that there is no way to remove the pain of grief. There is a path to move through the pain. It is a season that will one day pass.“Weeping may last for a night, but rejoicing will come in the morning.” Psalm 30:5  (from D. Russell, Pastoral Counselor)

Our world is full of many sad and sorrowing right now. If you are one, I want you to know that I care. Today I shall offer a prayer that the “Man of Sorrows” will enter your life in a special way this week and grant you His Presence and His Peace. May the message of Christmas bring you Hope for better days to come…

“Dear Man of Sorrows, so acquainted with grief, Help me not to recoil from Your wounds, not to fear touching them or to be touched by them. Help me to understand that in my suffering I am not only nearest to You, but nearest to becoming like You. It’s a sobering thought and I shudder when I think of it. Help me to understand that many of the sorrows I experience in this life belong to the nature of the world I live in, and will not pass away until this world passes away. Thank You for being in the midst of these sorrows, transforming them into blessings and filling them with meaning. Amen.” (Ken Gire)

CLICK HERE to hear Michael Card’s Song “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows” 

under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength”

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Have you been listening to and watching my
“Daily Advent Words” each morning on both Facebook and Instagram?
My gift to you this year is a whole month of “Daily Advent Words” which I  share each morning December 1-31 on Instagram and Facebook
 (they are up and archived there.)
I hope you will watch/listen in the unfolding Light as we all learn to Shine!
to view “Daily Advent Words.”
A Look Ahead to January.
Want to start the year strong —
individually or with a group?
I am offering an 8-week study on my interactive life journal “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” available January 3rd for individuals or groups. You can watch the 8 video teaching lessons any time, plus full outline downloads of each session and discussion questions are provided. You will need a copy of the book “Soul Strong,” but the video teaching is fresh material which complements the book. The study is FREE, but a small Love Offering is always appreciated.  Simply email me
 with “Soul Strong Study” as the subject line and I will send you the LINK on January 3rd.

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at


  1. Maureen Miller on December 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you for this, dear friend. Many need these words, especially this year. I need them! ❤️ P.S. I love Michael Card too!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 10, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      And thank you for reading. Merry Merry!

  2. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds on December 9, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Very fitting.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 10, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks so much for reading. Blessed Christmas!

  3. Sheree Harrington on December 9, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Beautiful song by Michael Card. Thank you Lucinda!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 10, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you for listening. I think so too. Blessings!

  4. Debbie Alsdorf on December 9, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Beautiful . I shared with friends who need these exact words.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 10, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you, friend, for reading and sharing. Christmas Love!

  5. Barbara on December 9, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    This is beautiful. You are so brilliant at flowing seamlessly from the sacred to the earthly. I love this. Xoxoxo And you!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 10, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      High praise coming from one of my most favorite writers. Beautiful Christmas to you all.

  6. Lisa Larsen Hill on December 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks Lucinda for these healing words. I didn’t know Michael Card. A beautiful song. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      I am so happy to introduce you to his work. “Immanuel” is wonderful as well, and he writes beautifully. Merry Christmas!

  7. Maggie Rowe on December 11, 2020 at 2:07 am

    Such an important post, Cindy – thank you. This season amplifies both joys and sorrows, but it’s the latter we need help with in order to cope.

Leave a Comment