God has placed this blog on my heart, nudging me awake at 4:30 am for many mornings until I began to listen and put these thoughts into words. Throughout this time He has put articles, and a sermon (thank you Pastor Rachel DeLaune) who preached on this very topic to encourage and enlightened me. If this blog helps than I have done what God has asked.
Amidst the shopping, baking, decorating, and list making of the holiday season we often lose the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. God sent his son so that we might believe in Him and have everlasting life. Christ came down to show us how to live and how to die.
This year, as I prepare for Christmas, its meaning has never been more real to me. Two of my friends have been waging a war against a smoldering cancer that has swept through their bodies like a forest fire incinerating everything; the smoke enveloping not only their lies but those around them. One, a 30 year old mother of two celebrated Christmas early because she would not be here on Christmas day. She is no longer suffering, having gained her angel wings on December 10th. The other is a mother and grandmother whose life on earth is also coming to a close. Both of these women have mothers who, like the Virgin Mary, were/are watching their daughter die. Both leave children and grandchildren behind. I cannot imagine such pain and sadness.
Why does such sadness seem to come at Christmas? Are you overcome by pain and suffering? What are we to learn in the midst of pain? Where do you find comfort and where do you find God? And does God give us more than we can handle?
While it seems like bad things happen at Christmas, I think sadness befalls all throughout the year but the dichotomy between the celebration of the birth of Christ and loss of a loved one intensifies the feelings. I also believe that death is a part of the cycle of life. From the moment we are born we are venturing towards death and a new life in eternity. In his book “Not a Silent Night” Adam Hamilton says that Christmas and Easter are a packaged deal. The same is with life and death. Without either we would not appreciate the life between birth and death. The celebration of Christ’s birth reminds us that though sadness will come into our lives, there is hope. God does give us more than we can handle but never more than God can handle. When Jesus suffered on this earth he reached out to God. When we suffer, do we reach for the arms of God? He’s waiting for us, wanting to hold our brokenness and heal our hearts to find the peace amidst the suffering.
I hope my readers will consider death as part of healing. While it may sound strange or even shocking to some, death is the ultimate healer. We become healed in body, mind and soul when we join our Creator: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In death we are truly and eternally healed from all our afflictions.
When death comes calling at Christmas invite Christ to be your constant companion.
While I am mourning the loss of my friends, I know that death will remove their suffering and joy and peace will fill their spirits as they rest in God’s eternal love. After their long tortuous battle, eternity with God is a gift worthy of the Christmas season. Please pray for the families of these two women that through this tortuous time, there be a supernatural feeling of peace that can only come from the Father.
Because of these two remarkable women, I plan to do less Christmas shopping, holiday baking, decorating, partying and more hugging, holding, sharing, and caring. I want to take the time to make the memories that will last a lifetime and into the beyond. May you do so as well.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34.18).