Christmas Eve Encouragement: Rest from the Work of Grief

Christmas (1).jpg

The baby you greatly miss is not here. I know, I feel it too for mine. She was not here when we were hanging ornaments, and not here when wrapping last-minute presents in glowing Christmas light. They are not here with joy on their faces to receive gifts in celebration of the only Savior of this world. They are not here. And there is a felt void at every step through this time of year. We cannot fix it or change it. It is.

"Please don't try to fix it."

We resist when the words of others appear to be applying remedy for what they cannot fix—especially on big days like this, when feeling pain is part of it, but they cannot fully relate (praise God!). They cannot bring our babies to us.

Yet, I don’t know if you’re like me in this, even while knowing that this loss is beyond my ability to fix, I might still attempt to fix myself—and I am not sure that I have always rested well. I might linger around the shining tree late on these nights with a chocolate-covered pretzel in my hand, and a few more nearby, to think about how bright of a spot in my life my first daughter holds. Pain comes. And I look down at the red and green sprinkles on my chocolate Christmas pretzel with tears sprinkling my skin; and I feel lonely for her—wishing I did not need to eat these every year without her, one of my two little stars.

I have attempted to solve my pain by figuring it out, by determining the next step I need to take, or by seeking to glean the truth that will allow me to shed some more of the burden of grief I hadn’t previously known I was carrying. But without rest, I have forgotten that God carries me through it all, even amidst the work of grief. And I believe the work of grief is good—the truth is to be sought, and tears are happy to be freed by every new understanding. Yet, grief is work—not to be isolated from rest that acknowledges God's ownership and leadership of me.

When, in restful reflection, I simply remember that I have Someone infinite with me. He envelopes all of me, you know? I simply say to Him, “Lord, this pain.” And I know that He is not only enveloping me (Jer. 23:24), but He is within me (1 Cor. 3:16). Unlike those sometimes-enjoyable TV movies that speak of Christmas miracles as something purely earthly, Christmas is about the miraculous Savior King from heaven, making peace for our sins through His blood (1 John 3:5; 1 Cor. 1:19-20). Now, God is within us warming our hearts with His promise that the first coming was not His last (Rev. 22:12).

In many ways, we are second-coming Christians—not looking for the star to appear over a Baby in a manger, but looking for the Son to come, most radiant, to sweep us into brightest light. Christmas glowed because of the incarnation of Christ; and Christmas glows brightly in our eyes that firmly expect our Savior King to come again.

As long as the Lord tarries, there is no fixing this day—no pain-free promise for these moments (Ecc. 1:15). But our true promise is that we are given much glorious good and joy of God, right now (1 Pet. 1:8), and that He who engulfs and indwells us on earth will also beautifully overtake us in every possible sense one future day (1 Cor. 15:54). This is joy. Joy to the world—for the joy of the next world invades this one so well in pain, doesn’t it? Do you feel that too?

Rest today. Rest your hearts and let joy thoroughly invade. Our hope rests on another, on His presence now, His perfect timing for our tears to be wiped away, and the promise of His glory through our lives and through this world. And His glory, even today, is great (John 1:14; Isa. 60:1).

My soul, let your heart rest today in what your hope truly rests on—your God whose bright glory still reigns over all.  

This post was originally published at Hope Mommies.

Christmas Day Encouragement: Acknowledgment

From Noelle’s Grandmother