For my heart-friend, this Christmas will be beyond difficult.
‘Tis the season to be jolly. Right?'
She feels anything but jolly. She’s cried until there can’t possibly be any more tears, and still they come. She’s angry - at herself, at the circumstances: at the sickness that took the life of her beloved child.
Her tormented thoughts scream, “If only I’d . . . what if I . . . I should have . . .!”
If she could, she’d skip Christmas this year. That she might allow joy seems a betrayal of her love for him.
Joy is not happy.
Happy is a feeling of being ecstatic, exhilarated, delighted. It is momentary and an emotion that is dependent on the circumstances.
Joy is different. Joy is deeper. Joy is authentic, soul-satisfying and an emotion that transcends the temporal.
Christmas joy, for one who is grieving, focuses not on the circumstances of the season, but on the companionship of the Savior.
The apostle Paul understood sorrow. Happy was rare for him.
He experienced the horrors of prison, the agony of floggings, beatings with rods, being stoned.
He came close to death more than once. He was shipwrecked, robbed, in danger from the Gentiles and even his own countrymen.
He experienced loss, hunger, thirst, cold, nakedness, pressure from his concern for the churches.
And yet, in the face of trouble, he made room on his journey for joy.
It was not just an occasional companion, he walked arm-in-arm with joy.
It overwhelmed him, embraced him and anchored him (II Corinthians 7:4).
- This Christmas, give your heart a break.
- Step gently, but step.
- Grab hold, hang tight to joy.
- You will get to the other side of your grief.
- It will not always hurt like it does right now.
- For today, fix your eyes on Jesus.
My 7-year-old grand-daughter, Rachel, said it best, “Joy is having the thought that God is with you and Jesus was born.”
“The joy of the Lord is my strength!” Nehemiah 8:10