Grieving During the Holidays

A Hopeful Lament
with Terra McDaniel

What if you are grieving in a time of year when many are celebrating?

What if the most wonderful time of the year isn’t for you?

Can hope for renewal and honesty about pain coexist?

There are wise models of lamenting without losing hope within the story of Advent. Mary and Elizabeth, mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist, ponder hard questions about justice and the reality of suffering. Mothers in Bethlehem grieve lost children, refusing shortcuts through mourning.  

In this four-week course, we’ll create some breathing room around ways to engage lament without giving in to despair. We’ll discuss how lonely grief can be especially when everyone around you seems to be celebrating. We will practice engaging pain in community. We’ll work toward correcting the common narrative of grief as negativity or somehow self-fulfilling and discover lament as faithful and God-honoring.

Terra's book Hopeful Lament will be used as a guide for this course. Be sure to purchase your copy before our first session. More information below.
  • Dates

    November 27 -
    December 18, 2023

  • Day of the Week

    3-4pm PT

  • Format

    Virtual Course

  • Duration

    4 weeks



On Tending Our Grief

We need to rediscover lament to heal and hope again.

We've lost the practice of lament. Most people don't know how to process personal or communal mourning and instead struggle to honor their tears, vulnerability, and the full weight of these disillusioning times. But tending our grief might be exactly what we need to reimagine a way forward.

Tracing her difficult experiences of a catastrophic home fire, a threat to her child's well-being, and other devastating losses and upheavals, Terra McDaniel offers a clear framework for expressing heartache and burdens. McDaniel says, "Lament is surprisingly hopeful. As strange as that may sound now, I promise it’s true. It's an act of trust both that we can face pain and survive, and that God cares about our anger, confusion, doubt, grief, and fear. Lament refuses to bury pain or, just as dangerous, to give in to despair."

Hopeful Lament makes space for the powerful act of crying out before a loving God and offers provoking reflection questions, embodied practices, and applications for families with children. Learn how to journey gently through suffering.
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Terra McDaniel

Terra is a spiritual director, writer, teacher, and supervisor who loves making space for people of all ages to tune into the holy and their own souls. She is the author of Hopeful Lament: Tending Our Grief Through Spiritual Practices. She received an MDiv with a concentration in spiritual formation from Portland Seminary.

Terra and her husband live in Austin, Texas with their rescue dogs Edie and Albert. She’s thankful her daughter, son-in-law, and twin grandchildren are only a ten minute drive away. You can find her online at
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