December 17, 2018
The challenges of dealing with grief during this season are daunting. However, coping is possible, and as I wrote last week, it often is enabled by a change of focus, first by focusing on Jesus and the Light he offers those of us who walk in darkness. Another change of focus can be accomplished by turning our thoughts to some Biblical people.
Jesus’ mother Mary provides one excellent example. Through the angel, she was asked by God to accept a role which would be very difficult for a young woman to accept in that society. But we know that she never hesitated – just agreed to be the “handmaiden of the Lord” with no strings attached.
As a result, Mary experienced carrying and giving birth to God’s Son. She was there for His first word, His first steps, His growing years and years of learning and forming His ministry. She made the request for the wine at the wedding, His first miracle. What an amazing life she and Joseph had!
However, think about the things which Mary “pondered in her heart” after Jesus’ early days, knowing that within the glorious hallelujahs of the birth of the Messiah was the prediction of His death. We know that what she pondered in her heart encompassed not just joy but also the forecast of sorrow, just like the myrrh which was among Jesus’ gifts from the Magi.
All of us experience joys and sorrows, and like the wonderful song “Blessings,” we need to see that blessings come through all experiences, the bad as well as the good. If we can do that, and see Mary as an example of accepting God’s will in all things, we can focus on wonderful memories and the promise of Heaven even though we suffer grief during the holidays.
Through all of these times, honor your memories of your missing loved ones. View the pictures, tell the stories, observe the traditions which meant a lot to them. If our focus is on walking with Jesus, He will remind us that each of these people celebrated holidays and now are celebrating eternal life with Him.
Oh, come, Emanuel, and ransom souls captive in darkness. You are our blessed Light of the holidays and always.