Getting Rid of Painful Memories

by | Dec 19, 2022 | Answered Prayers, memories, Strength

“I’ve got too many bad memories of the holidays, especially Christmas,” a friend told me some years ago. “Everybody seems to be having a wonderful time, while I can barely hold it together. What can I do?”

She was asking because she sensed that it was also true for me: Christmas as survival. In those days, I just wanted it to be over. Both of my parents grew up in alcohol-fueled backgrounds. Every year, they fought the same battles with each other. As soon as we were old enough to remember, we kept well out of sight, making little hideouts like bomb shelters in the bottoms of our closets. I’d take my little brother in with me and hold him close.

One year, our parents threw an entire set of dishes at each other, piece by piece, across the living room. The crashing of cups and salad plates was all the warning that it took about not being noticed. On Christmas Day, there would be rolls of coverless comics in the stockings that we’d hung, but nothing personal under the tree. The sound track would be my parents screaming at one another. By then, the tree leaned precariously towards the floor, branches denuded, and broken ornaments scattered underneath.

Yes, we went to church for the nativity pageant. My parents put on a good front, but it stopped at our front door. I wished that I were anywhere but at home.

“I can’t forget how bad those Christmases were!” my friend said. “I’ve tried over and over, but the memories seem worse every year.”

I told her that I had stopped trying when I realized that Christmas is God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God didn’t send His only Son into a perfect world. Nobody plans to give birth in a stable, no matter how picturesque or full of angels.

Someone said, Without memory, there is no healing. Without forgiveness, there is no future.

We give those painful memories to God, praying, “I can’t handle them, God. You take over.”

Faith is courage that has said its prayers. We act on it. We depend on God’s love. We share it with others until it becomes a habit, till the old past fades away.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b  NKJV)

These good things are waiting for us to claim them.

It is up to us to forgive those makers of our old memories, in order to let God change our hearts. Then, everything changes, because of the Baby in the manger.

Prayer: Dear Father God, we thank You for the gift of Your Son. Help us to break free of our old way of thinking about the past and to accept the new life that You keep ready for us through Your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2022, by Rose DeShaw<>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional  
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author.


Getting Rid of Painful Memories