Personal Courage of the Abuse Survivor at Christmastime

Michael D. Hoffman

From the Oxford dictionary, Advent is defined as the “arrival of a notable person or thing.” As Christians, we wait in anticipation of Jesus’ arrival and the peace, comfort and joy in our hearts which that brings. I believe this with all my heart. However, the simple spirit of the season of Advent and Christmas reminds me about my individual journey to find “home”, my internal personal struggle to reclaim what was lost to the truth of my abuse and my heartfelt efforts to reconcile family bonds which were broken by my abuser. I do these things each day/week/year with the anticipation and hope that these efforts will help heal my wounds of childhood sexual abuse. And, if all of that were to happen, then I can truly feel the peace, comfort and joy in my heart which the birth of the baby Jesus brings to all of us.

One of my favorite Advent songs is written by Dan Shutte, “A Time Will Come for Singing.”

“A time will come for singing, when all your tears are shed
            When sorrows chains are broken, and broken hearts will mend”

Those lyrics and the entire song speaks to me this time of year and I encourage you to listen to this song. I sincerely anticipate that a time will come for singing – I am not quite there yet. I am hopeful for that kind of freedom from my burden.

Each year I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family. Each year, I cry at the end when George Bailey is reunited with his beautiful family after his personal journey of discovery. Along his path, he also helped his guardian angel, Clarence, with his own sense of self. This classic story reminds me of my own personal journey and how my family and friends walk with me.

I believe I am not alone in feeling this way. I believe childhood sexual abuse survivors who wish to reconcile what happened back then when we were younger, are on a heartfelt journey which takes heroic personal courage. For me, the season of Advent and Christmas acts as a reminder of this painful healing process. But I remain hopeful that my broken heart will actually mend, and I remain grateful to my family and friends who walk with me. Even though my heart remains heavy, with the hope and anticipation this season brings, in which includes God’s grace, someday I believe I will be free from this burden and I will sing……

I wish the same for all of you. God Bless.

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