for those who cry at Christmas
“Please remember that the holidays are not joyous for everyone around you. For many who are reminded of their loss, they need extra love and care during this time.”
My pastor’s wife spoke these words at our Women’s Christmas Breakfast, and I was instantly sobered. The concept of Christmas sadness had not occurred to me, but she had been in ministry long enough to know that this is commonly the experience. I tried to keep that in mind over the next several years as the holidays approached. I wanted to be sensitive to those who were associating the season with an enhanced reminder of loss.
The year 2012 has brought drastic change to the lives of many that I care about. Jon and I have both witnessed a parent taking their last breath on this earth and going on to be with the Father in heaven. We have known loss. Yet, my hurt this Christmas has more to do with others than with our own family. While our household is in tact, many this Christmas are realizing that things at home will never be the same. There are two dear children today who wonder what will Christmas day be like without Daddy. Another family is freshly mourning the loss of their beautiful mother. Will they even celebrate Christmas?
What about Newtown, Connecticut? While the celebration of our Savior’s birth is in full swing, a madman goes on a killing spree, instantly changing the atmosphere this Christmas and for all the many years to follow. Households, a community and our nation will never be the same.
This is reality. Change is promised. Troubles are expected. But one thing remains the same: Jesus is still the risen Savior. He still bears the name Healer. He is the Redeemer and the Restorer of the broken-hearted. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and Counselor. We are not left to ourselves to navigate the harshness of this world. We have a God who loves us and cares for our every need.
Knowing the Heart of God is a devotional by John Eldgredge that I am currently reading, and it presented a timely word today- “Walking with God leads to receiving His intimate counsel, and counseling leads to deep restoration. As we learn to walk with God and hear His voice, He is able to bring up issues in our hearts that need speaking to. Some of those wounds were enough to break our hearts, create a rift in the soul, and so we need His healing as well. This is something Jesus walks us into- sometimes through the help of another person who can listen and pray with us, sometimes with God alone. As David said in Psalm 23, He leads us away, to a quiet place, to restore the soul. Our first choice is to go with Him there- to slow down, unplug, accept the invitation to come aside.”