This season seems hardly the time to be talking about sad things. Next week is Christmas – we’re supposed to be celebrating! But life doesn’t always follow plans and schedules. It just happens. Foolish me, I thought I was going to jump back into writing and share a couple more posts before Christmas, but after the last two phone calls, both received this week, I knew I needed to step back for a bit.
For our family and friends, this has been a season of cheer… and much sadness.
In the past three months, 12 people (and two pets) who we either knew ourselves or knew through a family member, friend, or coworker, have died. Four were elderly, but the remaining were far too young – in their fifties, twenties, and even one 14 year old. Most of them died suddenly, without any warning of their being a health problem. One of them was murdered. And two of them died this week.
Between Christmas cards, Christmas decorating, and Christmas parties, there are sympathy cards, bouquets of burial flowers, and words of remembrance.
Then there are our loved ones who are very ill, and an unusual number of minor hardships we and our loved ones have faced in recent weeks. It has really been a dark time.
Christmas is our favorite holiday, but the spirit of the thing has honestly been dampened this year. It may be a time for family gatherings, but each has been, or will be, made more sober at the loss of all these loved ones.
How can this be happening?!
Even for those who were confident in their eternal life in Heaven, it just plain sucks! It sucks for the wife of decades left behind. It sucks for the teenage kids missing a parent. It sucks for the parents burying their children. And it sucks for them, that they did not have the closure they should have had, even if they were never meant to share this life on earth as long as most.
When I think about the closest of people to those who have died, it makes this post seem insignificant and selfish.
At first I thought, how can Christmas even be celebrated this year? How can we justify it? How can it still be cheerful and full of joy? Then I remembered that, it is exactly because of all this sadness that believers do celebrate.
Yes, we have gifts, trees, and all other pagan rituals associated with the holiday, but when it comes down to it, we are remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. And He is the only One who can give us Hope in darkness.
If it wasn’t for His birth (and death and resurrection) we would all be destined for eternal death. We would all be left with a sinking feeling that when we lose a loved one we would never see them again. It is for that reason that we should celebrate Christmas, in spite of the sadness. He is the One who can give us peace, and hope, and joy in the face of darkness. Be it the cars breaking down, or a loved one getting very sick, or even dying. It all gains perspective when we see life in the light of Him.
So, whatever you are facing this holiday season, I pray that God blesses your home with peace. May you hug your family tight, enjoy the moment, and remember where our hope comes from.
Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.
(In light of everything, I’ve decided to step away from this blog for a bit, maybe a few days, maybe a couple weeks, time will tell. I need to spend time with my family, and time to think about what comes next here. I’m sure you all understand. In the meantime, you may want to like us on facebook if you haven’t already. I expect to continue posting updates and occasionally pictures, so we can at least stay in touch while I am not publishing posts.)