“And His name will be the Hope of all the world.” Matthew 12:21
Christmas has the potential to bring families together and create happy memories that will last a lifetime. Yet, because of sin and the death sin brings – Christmas can stir up painful memories of unhappy childhoods. Since it is a time when families are usually together more, it can also overwhelm one with feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety – when peace is lacking in the family. Instead of being the most wonderful time of the year, it can be the most depressing time for many.
The first Christmas after Jamie died was excruciating. We didn’t really want to decorate or do anything. But we tried to hold it together and do a few things for our oldest son. But Christmas hasn’t been the same since 2007. That was the last Christmas we were all a family on this earth. In the years that have followed, we’ve watched how one son’s death impacted another son in such a way that he’s chosen to walk away from all we taught him. Cutting us out of his life and the lives of our only grandchildren. There’s been no contact for over two years now with him or our grandchildren. Some days it’s hard to say who my heart is grieving for the most.
I share this truth with you because I know there are many parents missing children (and grandchildren) this Christmas. Some are grieving their children who have died. Some are grieving their living children who have chosen to walk another path.
When people find out that I work with grieving families, one thing they say most often is “Oh, you can tell them it will get easier, that they can get over it.” I always give that person a look of dismay because of the lack of truth in that statement. You never get over the loss of a loved one or the hurt their absence brings into your life. There are some days that are easier than others, but there are still a lot of hard days. What I have learned is that joy and grief (pain) can coexist. It is possible to experience great joy in the middle of deep pain, simply because of that little baby that came to be the Hope of all the world.
We put our hope in our finances, jobs, friends and even family and they can all be taken from us in an instant. The only place to find true security, peace, stability and love is in Jesus.
I put my Hope in Jesus as a little girl. Believing in Him has not kept me from going through deep valleys. But in those hard places of life, it has been my Hope in Him that has sustained me. He has been the lifter of my head. Keeping my eyes focused on Him allows me to see past the pain that tries to overwhelm me.
Because of that little child that came to dwell with men, I have the hope of a future reunion with family. Things that may seem impossible with earthly eyes are all possible through the power of Christ alone.
Being a Christian does not mean that you shouldn’t cry or feel pain even at Christmas. But being a Christian means you have Hope that no matter how bleak and empty your Christmas might be right now, it can all change in the twinkling of an eye. It is a promise of Hope that one day Jesus will remove all pain from our lives – the emptiness that may surround us today will not last. And this is our Hope.
In Christ, family does not shrink, family grows.
Hope in Christ holds a torch in the darkest of times.
My Hope Endures,
Director, Ephraim Ministries