• Jill Jarrell Newsome

A Blue Christmas

I sure miss my dad at Christmas. He and I loved Christmas so much and were always the first ones up. He died in August 2011 and one of my first thoughts were, how can I get through Christmas? Christmas will never be the same without him but I try to think of the wonderful time he is having in God's presence. I would not bring him back to this world if I could. I always think of those who have lost loved ones and are experiencing their "first" Christmas without their loved one. It is such a sad time. As many of you, each Christmas we seem to face more losses.

Christmas is a time of joy for many but it can also be a time of sorrow. For different reasons some people are experiencing isolation and loneliness. I think one thing that makes Christmas so hard when we are grieving is that all of the commercials and shows are about families and they are all happy. We expect Christmas to be all our loved ones,getting along, happy and healthy and peaceful tied up in a pretty bow. Christmas is more than trees, lights, gifts, food, and parties. God's plan for our salvation began with Jesus' birth. Without that, there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection and no hope.

Christmas is also for those of us who mourn and grieve because Jesus conquered the very things that create such sorrow in our hearts. The blood and death that surrounded the birth of Jesus can make His light even brighter to those who are grieving. Instead of focusing on the secular things and becoming exhausted from planning and preparations, let's make it all about Jesus. He came to offer us forgiveness and the hope of eternal life.

Matthew 1: 23, "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” Immanuel means "God with us." The true meaning of Christmas is "God With Us" Through Jesus' birth, life and death we are shown the depth of God's love in sending Jesus to be with us. Jesus knows our hopes, joys, fears, pains and struggles - He also had them. Even when times are so difficult and feel unbearable Christmas reminds us that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us and live in us. Jesus is still present with us.

I am thankful for the joy in my life even during the tough times. God was with me through it all. James 1: 2-3, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." I am thankful that God knows we are going to grief. John 16: 22, "So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." I am thankful that there is a season for weeping. John 16: 22, "...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..." I am thankful I can look back and see God's faithfulness in this life and the next life. 2 Timothy 2: 13, "...if we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself." I am thankful to God that He uses our experiences to help us help others. Mark 5: 19, "Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” I am expected to witness to others which just means I should tell them what I saw and experienced in my life. God uses all of our stuff to help others come to know Him.

God will bring good from our tough times. Romans 8: 28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I can't help but wonder if God was a little sad knowing what His Son would go through. But He knew the good that would come from this - for all eternity!

Every hard place in our life is an opportunity to offer help and hope to those who are coming behind us. Let's continue to share that Christmas joy. When others have moved from Christmas to New Year's let's keep our Christmas joy. Our joy does not come from being happy or from circumstances. Our joy is an ever knowing that we have Jesus Christ in our lives. Jesus came to earth to be our Lord and Savior. We who know Jesus personally can share His message with all those who are hurting even as we hurt. We have the light of the world even in dark times. This joy of Christmas stays with us even in sad times. Remember Psalm 27: 13-14, "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

May you cling to God during this time. Job 5: 11, "The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety." Isaiah 41: 10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."


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