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Posts Tagged ‘Surviving the Holidays’

Several years ago I published this blog and because of the number of comments, and those I know who’ve lost loved ones this year, I believe it’s relevant today. Let’s talk about your grief…

Fourteen years—fourteen years since that first Christmas without our daughter. We think we’ve healed. The decorations go up, the carols play, and once again we’re swept back into that emotional time warp of holidays past. And once again those deep scars of grief are probed and our hearts ache.

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I don’t see any raised hands, but I see some of you reaching for Kleenex,  I hear your sniffles, and I know your heart is breaking. And I know if this is your first Christmas after the loss of one you love, you’re wishing you could go to sleep before Thanksgiving arrives and stay in bed with the covers over your head ‘til January.

Last year was a major milestone for me, during an unexpected meltdown, a dear friend reminded me, “You don’t have to keep going down the same road.”

For thirteen years I had hauled out the same tree, put everything in the same place, and administered CPR to old gut-wrenching memories. Choosing to cling to the past, choosing to hang each one of those emotionally-charged ornaments that always graced our tree. Choosing to add another year to the process that became more and more difficult. I found out the hard way, it hurts when God had to pry my fingers off the past to give Him the pain in order to move me forward with Him today.

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Two December blogs of 2013, Is Jesus Enough and Storm to Storm—Faith to Faith, https://dianegates.wordpress.com/  recount the details of what happened and how God used my dear friend’s words as the prescription that blessed my heart and changed my life.

This year we have a new tree, many of the same ornaments, but those scab-ripper ornaments are packed away, labeled and waiting for children and grandchildren’s trees, where they will be treasures, not idols. I’ve chosen to take a new, less bumpy road through this year’s Christmas celebration.

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Scripture tells us our emotions mirror God’s emotions because we were created in the image of God. We read of His anger, His forgiveness, and His love. We’re in good company.

But have you ever stopped to consider the turmoil God must have suffered nine months prior to that special night when the Spirit of God overshadowed Mary. For the first time ever, the Father, Son, and Spirit were physically separated. The Son left the realm of His Father’s glory, relinquishing His rights, His comfort, and confined Himself to a human body so you and I and our loved ones might live.

The separation was the Father’s choosing, planned before the foundation of the world, and the Son was willing. Willing to pay the price for you and me and all who choose to believe this price was enough.

But I wonder if knowing all the whys and wherefores made it any less difficult for God? If you had known beforehand when and how your loved one would die, would your grief be more bearable today?

Father, Son, and Spirit knew the necessity of the sacrifice and the cost of the victory—down to every lash Jesus would endure. But as the time arrived for that miraculous conception, did God experience grief over the pain and horror He knew His Son would experience before the final victory was won?

We glamorize and commercialize the manger scene in Bethlehem. There were no wise men from the East that night with the shepherds. They arrived two years later. Our little nativity sets are beautiful. But I’m afraid we’ve lost the awe of the deep sacrifice, and the eternal significance and holy majesty of that night in Bethlehem.

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Dr. Paul David Tripp says: “God’s story is a life-death-life story. And we are in the middle of that story, having just experienced the life-death cycle thus far.”  So, what better time to consider this miracle of God’s story than during the pain and sorrow of our own loss? And what better time to be quiet before God, asking Him to teach and grow us up in His truth? His Son, His only Son, entered this world appointed to lie in a manger, destined to die on a cross, anointed to rise and become our Savior and King. Forever!

God’s amazing life-death-life story.

SILENT NIGHT—HOLY NIGHT whispers in my soul tonight as I think about the night angels brought the message of God’s good mercy and grace rather than His wrath. The night God announced the arrival of the long-promised Messiah. The night the angels sang to bleating lambs and lowly shepherds. But all heaven knew, looking down through the corridors of time, there would be great pain and sorrow before joy would reign forever.

“An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were greatly afraid. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men” (Luke 2:9-14 KJV).

I know your soul groans and you hurt, but in the depths of the dark night of your grief will you accept comfort, knowing God has experienced and understands what you’re going through? I have learned from years experience—yes, you can.

And God’s message to you and me today is the same word He sent to those frightened shepherds. Don’t be afraid. Jesus is with you. He completed the Father’s life-death-life plan established before the foundation of the world. He knows your pain and sorrow and is engaged in enlarging your heart’s capacity for His joy through this root-rooter of grief. You can rest in Him. You can rely on Him. And you can trust Him. He loves you and promises to wrap you in His comfort and care ‘til we are once again able to  raise our hands to worship and praise King Jesus!

And remember, He never wastes anything—even your grief!

If you’re struggling this Christmas season go to http://www.griefshare.org and click on Find A Group. Enter your zip code to find a Surviving the Holidays event in your neighborhood.

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