It's been a slightly different Christmas season this year as, alongside some lovely presents from my darling husband and time with our niece, our church has experienced the most sad loss of such a wonderfully generous and caring woman whom I've known for some 15 years. She was also the mother of young people whom I work with and so I'm concerned for them and feeling that uselessness we often feel when trying to find words in such situations.
Fortunately there are those out there with good words. Local to us is the Child Bereavement Trust with advice for professionals and also advice specifically for families, young people and even some stuff about dealing with Christmas.
These times can be those that test our faith, strengthen it, or break it. All I know is God's calling to presence, availability and flexibility for those I'm youth minister to. The words, "I'm here" may not seem much but I know, in my darkest times, those two words whispered in the silence by God or by someone else can be a light in the darkness.