While emotions run strong at Christmastime, our love and thankfulness run deeper. But so does our grief, should the season find us in a place of pain or suffering.
With the recent loss of my son, Josh, little things like putting up stockings become huge. What do I do with my son's stocking? I can't let go of it, yet it hurts too much to see it hanging by the hearth with the others. Each Christmas tree ornament and all of his childhood Christmas craft projects bring the same conflicts.
I find I am plumbing my personal depths in search of God's healing. I am dealing with things I never knew were issues before. I am going as deep as I can within myself and crying out from the depths for God's Holy Spirit to bring healing and hope. For those of us who find ourselves in this place during this holiday season, I've found that it's only as we invite Jesus to heal us that He will come. He will never force Himself on us, even though He knows how much we need the comfort and healing He has to offer.
I seems He's trying to teach me to endure pain gracefully. The only way to learn that is to allow myself to walk in the pain. In times past, I would have kept myself busy so that my feelings would not have been able to hit me so deeply. That doesn't work anymore. If I am to be a real help to others, I cannot hide my pain from myself.
In all of this I find that I have a greater interest in heaven. I long to know what Josh is doing; is he celebrating Christmas? There is a lot of conjecture about heaven, yet I don't find much of what is said substantiated in scripture. One thing seems clear: God is the central focus of heaven. When I realize this and think about the fact that I will be face to face with the God of the universe, Christmas trees and cookies do not seem so important. It helps me maintain perspective.
I know that Josh had a personal relationship with Jesus and that Josh is in Jesus' presence now. I also know that when Jesus appears Josh will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4 assures me that because I am in Christ, when Josh appears with Jesus, I will as well. Although for now I am intensely aware of the hole in my heart, I have hope. I encourage all who are hurting this Christmas season to set your eyes on Jesus and everything He has promised. Set your focus firmly on Him, and nothing can take you out of His keeping. He has come down to us, He is coming, and He will surely come.
With Love in Jesus,
Lisa Metzler is a mom, mentor, volunteer, and a servant of God and others based in Fallbrook, CA.