The other day when I was talking to my sister she said something about how it seems bad things happen at holiday times. We were talking about my mom. She has lung cancer which has spread and eaten through her hip bone. We really don’t know how much longer she has here with us.
Sometimes it’s hard to get into the mood to celebrate, when your heart is aching, watching a loved one suffering.
I remember when my dad died, it was at Christmas time. I was in NC, he was in FL. I’m a big tradition person and love family times and all the traditions that go with celebrating Christmas, but that year, as this one, a shadow hung over me and it was very hard to get in the Christmas mood.
When my sister said that about bad things happening at Holidays, I thought, yeah, she’s right, at least in my experience. I remember when my mother-in-law died, a few days after Thanksgiving, and my sister, Granddad, and nephew-in-law – each died right around Easter. Sometimes it was expected, long illnesses, long fights for life, but other times it was quick and so unexpected.
Sometimes Holidays are hard. Sometimes sorrow clings to you as you go through the motions, but sometimes, sometimes… hope breaks through.
After talking with my sister, I thought about it and I realized that yeah, bad things happen at Holiday, but there is actually good in that too. Every Christmas I’m reminded of my father’s death and that reminds me of his life. I think back on happy memories of him, especially the day he came to my bedroom door looked at me with his special smile and asked, about my becoming a Christian and then nodded and said ‘yeah me too.’
And then I think about Christmas, and I think about why we are celebrating and I smile. I think of that baby, Jesus, born in a manger so many years ago, I think “God became man, He came and walked among us, He came to give us hope, to give us life, He came to die – to die so we could live.” And I know where my dad is, and where my sister and nephew-in-law, and where Dell, my mother-in-law is. I think about them, sitting on God’s lap as He wipes every tear from their eye (Revelation 21:4), I think of them in a place where there is no more fear, no more suffering, no more sorrow, no more death, and I am reminded of why we celebrate and joy fills my heart.
Does it take away all the pain and sorrow? No, I hurt for those I miss, I long to talk to them and laugh with them, but I know they are happy and at peace. And I know that one day because a baby born in Bethlehem, a baby born destined to die on the cross, I know because of Jesus’ life and death, because God chose to become man and chose to die for us to set us free, I know that one day I will see them again, and I know that one day my mom will be at peace and out of pain, and I know one day there will be no more tears and suffering, one day, yes one day.