Finding Christmas Peace After Divorce

Christmas Manger Scene

Can we be happy with this child?

The first Christmas the boys went to their father’s for Christmas hurt – a lot. The way it works here is , my boys go with their father on the 23rd and return in time for the late Christmas Eve Mass. Getting my boys back for Christmas day is one of the few things I insisted on in the divorce, and I am forever thankful for “winning” (what an ugly word for this!) my favorite holiday. Christmas in our house has been made extra special because one of my sons was born on that day too 🙂

Every Christmas since my divorce, I think of the men and women already suffering from abandonment and the breakup of their family who are not able to be with their children. If you are one of those people, my heart and prayers go out to you in a special way on this special day. I hope others will join me in praying for you as well.

I knew I’d get my boys back for Christmas day, but is still hurt to see my children excitedly marching off with their father and his new girlfriend. It hurt knowing their father would buy them gifts I could no longer afford and, since he gives his gifts first, there have been many times that my best gifts were duplicates of the ones they had already received. This has become a recurring issue and one I have learned to accept although I can’t say it doesn’t still cause me some anxiety and heartache.

It is sometimes hard to not feel resentful toward this man, who is now a stranger to me, and this woman, who is now playing Mrs. Claus, to my boys. Four years later and it still is difficult to face this reality and not feel some bitterness.

This is not the way it is supposed to be – for me or for my children.

It is not even the way it is supposed to be for my ex-husband or this other woman.

This is not the way it is supposed to be. I could go on and on about the injustices of divorce, abandonment, raising children alone, and the hurt and sadness so many experience this season, but God already knows all that, and I think He understands our pain. 

But He would not expect us to dwell on it or let it overpower our love of the Baby Jesus, the reason for the season. Jesus came to bring peace, not on earth, but in our hearts and minds, and we need to let Him do that. The angel hosts appeared before the shepherd singing,

Glory to God in the highest

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

We speak so often about the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about the gifts or pretty lights, the tinsel or the bows, but some of us mistake Christmas for a celebration of family time. While family time is a huge part of Christmas, I have to remind myself that it is not the reason for the holiday.

Christmas is about the Savior, that baby born in a manger long ago.

I know I can be happy without the trappings and wrappings of expensive gifts, but the challenge becomes, “Can I be happy without my children? Can I be happy with just the child born in the manger? Can I see that He is truly all the gift I need?”

Those questions are harder to answer. Tomorrow, I will give some ideas of things I do to appreciate my Christmas without my children, but I cannot pretend to know the agony of being without my children on this holiday. If you spend Christmas alone or have ideas for making it through the holidays, please contact me. Thank you.

God Bless…

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