Ever noticed that grief compounds? It’s collective.
You feel sad about today’s hurt; and suddenly you’re thinking about grief from decades or years or months ago. You hurt now, but you remember Grandma, and that uncle, that child… and the pain still feels fresh.
And holidays can intensify all those feelings.
Grief has a way of shattering the possibility of a “Holly, Jolly Christmas”. It’s hard to feel like this is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” when what you want most is time with someone you loved.
I know. My husband and I lost our little boy about eleven years ago. (More of the story is here, if you’re interested. ) He was born very prematurely… the day after Christmas. Although the sadness has lost intensity over the years, our memories of him are still mingled with memories of Christmas celebrations. Sometimes it’s impossible to separate the two.
It’s really no use pretending we’re not sad, or faking “joyful” feelings for the sake of sparing our other children.
They can see right through any pretending we do. We decided from the start to be honest with them about what had happened, and to find comfort together in knowing WHY Jesus came. It wasn’t just so we could have pretty scenes on Christmas cards, or sing familiar carols every year. He didn’t come “for the children” or so we could all muster up some feelings of good will for a week or two in winter.
He came because people die. Grandmas die; and babies die; and everyone sometime has to face that. There’s absolutely nothing we can do to stop it or make things right.
So God became human. To experience what we experience; to feel what we feel; yes. But especially to FIX the death problem.
That baby in a manger was on a journey to the cross, through the grave, and into life.
He was on a quest to reach us, to love us, and to heal us. He came to give us (and our loved ones) life. That’s a big deal! And it means we can sing even through tears:
Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”