7 Steps to Celebrate Life in the New Year for Those Grieving

The ball drops in Times Square, announcing the arrival of a new year. For many, promises of new beginnings and dreams dance in their heads. But with the coming of the new, we must say goodbye to the old. For some, the goodbye is bittersweet. The year has been marked by sadness, sorrow and heartache.

For me, the past year has been filled with painful losses and goodbyes, culminating in celebrations of life. Lives of those who passed fighting health battles and the passing of lives well lived. We want to greet the coming year with hope and expectation, but sometimes we get stuck in grief. How can we move forward when the time spent with our loved ones is locked in the past?

January is Celebration of Life Month. We honor the lives of those who passed, but we also want to celebrate our lives in the present.

How do we move forward and celebrate life?

1.  Hold on to what is good. Remember the good times. Cherish the memories.

2.  Let go of the negative. Forgive offenses. Release bitterness, regrets and guilt that trap us in the past.

3.  Forgive those who hurt us. Forgive those who left us.

4.  Be thankful. Thank God for His faithfulness, for bringing us through this hard season into a new year. Thank Him for the wonderful things He has in store for us.

5.  Enjoy the relationships God has brought into our lives. Appreciate those who have stood with us in our joys and in our sorrows.

6.  Set goals. So often we set goals that are not realistic or goals we maintain for a few weeks by our own willpower. But what are God’s goals for us? What are His goals for work? Relationships? Personal life? Character development? Ask him. Study His Word. How does He want us to accomplish these goals?

7.  Cultivate hope. Hope releases us from the prison of depression and despair.

We don’t know what the next year will bring, but as we move into the New Year, let us remember that each day is a gift from God.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  

(Jeremiah 29:11)