Merry In Our Mourning
While the holidays can be exciting for many it is also a hard time for many people hurting. To me, Christmas will never be the same without my Dad. There is always a twinge of hurt without him. I am a creature of habit and change is hard. He and I loved Christmas and had our own routine. We were always the most excited and couldn't sleep, much worse than the kids! Dad and I always looked good in the Christmas pictures because we had been up and ready for hours. I know he would want me to celebrate Christmas like he is here - he would not want me to be sad. So as I pray for those of you hurting, some for your “first” Christmas without a loved one, some still missing someone, and some hurting for other reasons - I am reminding myself of the hope of Christmas.
As I prepare my heart for Christmas, and the season of Advent, I have to go through the hurt of not having people around for the holidays. Many people are mourning this holiday season for different reasons such as the loss of a loved one, social distancing and other things going on. The secular world shows us a version of hope that includes warm fires, beautiful trees, families that love each other, families and friends gathered and laughing, etc. That is not reality and that is not where our hope comes from! No matter our circumstances, we have a hope we can hold on to forever! That little baby born in a manger over 2000 years ago is coming again! John 14: 3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” And if we are told that then it will happen. Luke 1: 37, “For no word from God will ever fail.”
Instead of dwelling on the negative ( I am preaching to myself) let’s look at this as precious time, a time of simplicity, to reflect on the most precious person in our life, Jesus Christ. He is with us. Psalm 34: 18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” When we focus on Him, we will have peace, no matter how different the holidays may be. Philippians 4: 7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus knows all of our emotions and has experienced them as a human. He may have felt some mourning on Christmas day. He loved us but knew he would have a short life and a painful death. Mary felt mourning as she witnessed the death of her son. Jesus felt the merry when He left the agony of the cross to be reunited with His Father. Mary felt the merry when she learned her Son was the Savior! I know I will feel merry when I see my earthly father again! Psalms 30:5 says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Of course, it doesn’t literally mean tomorrow but it assures us that there WILL be a time of joy even during our trials.
Regarding the believers who have died, 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 says, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
I am reminded I will be with both my earthly father and my heavenly Father one day! I love the song, “Ain’t No Grave” by Bethel Music. “There ain't no grave Gonna hold my body down. There ain't no grave Gonna hold my body down. When I hear that trumpet sound I'm gonna rise up outta the ground.” No matter what we are going through, joy will come! Light will prevail over darkness. Through Jesus, we can have the merry in our mourning!