Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve.
We’ve heard over and over how this is the most wonderful time of the year.

For a lot of folks it’s the time of year they simply endure, waiting anxiously for it all to be over. All the hype, commercialism, melancholy and bittersweet emotions that this time of year brings to some.
Or most, for that matter.

This Christmas Eve as I sift through Christmas cards and sympathy cards, I realize this time of year will never be the same for my husband and me. 

I just lost my mom 12 days ago.
My husband lost his mom right before Thanksgiving.

I’m not going to try to craft together impressive words on how to do grief during the holidays.

Many years ago, my divorce was final two weeks before Thanksgiving. I entered that holiday season trying to navigate unknown waters into the single parent life.

I got through it. Not on any merit of my own though.

Surviving the holidays as a newly divorced, single mom could only be done through God’s precious, intimate compassion that He poured out in my life during that time. That’s how He responded to my tearful pleas.

God’s response to any child of His far exceeds how we respond to our children or grandchildren. When they’re hurt and crying, we rush to their side, scoop them up speaking tender words of comfort and immediately do whatever it takes to bring healing, no matter how big or small.

When I first got the news about my mom, I didn’t immediately draw near to God and let Him do what I know He desired to do, which was to bring me comfort and peace. I withdrew from having quiet time with Him for days. All I could think was how untimely her death is; how I didn’t get to say goodbye or have any last moments with her. I questioned Him as to why He took her when He did.

By doing this I was making it all about me, which never turns out well.

So, longing for the comfort and peace I’m so familiar with that comes from God, I turned to His word, as well as my mom’s worn and tattered A.A. Reflections devotional.

Pouring over the pages where she’d highlighted, underlined and written brief thoughts began my healing. That is the first of many things God has poured into my lap to bring comfort as I continue drawing near to Him in my grief.

I know the holidays will never be the same. But I also know that this time of year is STILL the most wonderful time of the year because it marks Jesus’ birth and life, being the greatest gift ever given.

That will NEVER change. And because of that, no grief or pain will overtake me as I hide myself in Him. It is possible to have joy, peace and comfort during difficult times, not just at this time of year but all year long.

If you have a personal hurt or grief that this time of year only intensifies, joy, comfort and peace can be yours too.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3.
Rather than pull away from Him, we can draw near to the God who saves, who is near and who will heal.

Then we can celebrate Christmas and this time of year with joy, peace and comfort, instead of simply enduring it.
Finding comfort during the most wonderful time of the year,