Posts tagged grief at Christmas
Christmas Day Encouragement: Acknowledgment

"I miss your baby." Are you going to hear those words today? Will someone you are with acknowledge your baby? Is anyone going to speak any thoughts to you of him or her?

Is anyone going to say the name of your son or daughter? “I miss him so much,” or “I really miss her,” or “I wish we were together with your baby too,” or “Your son is a part of this family even though he cannot be in the family pictures, see the family traditions, and eat the family meals,” or “I know that your baby is in the best place of all in heaven—but, oh, it is our loss!” I hope that someone does.

I hope that someone voices to you their remembrance of your child. Yet, I understand we cannot always assume so.

Some are lost as to what to say and they don’t want to offend. Some feel as though they will cause you pain at the mention. Some see your child’s name as too precious to speak. Perhaps there is another reason. What I understand is that death gives easy answers to no one. But your child is not forgotten by God.

I hope someone speaks to you that they remember your baby today.  

And sisters, we can let Christ’s coming speak, even if no friend or relative knows to do so. His birth brought the “yes and amen” to us; every good promise is fulfilled.

Does God remember? Yes and amen. Christ has done more than remember; He planned before the world began that He would become fully human, taking on our same flesh (Acts 2:23; John 1:14; Matt. 4:2). And He remembers us this day, believers, interceding for us (Heb. 7:25).

Does God approach? Yes and amen. Christ has dome more than approach; He has come so near as to be in a human womb; He has cried human tears like ours in grief (Matt. 1:18; John 11:35).

Does God comfort and give joy? Yes and amen. The Christ who has become fully human is also fully God; He comforts with His power over sin in this fallen, death-ridden world we know sorrowfully well—He gives the ultimate comfort and joy because He was born to die so that we could be reconciled to God (Matt. 20:28; 1 Cor. 15:57). And because there is one mediator between God and man, we can entrust our babies to His sacrifice too (1 Tim. 2:5)—our babies who, though born of the first Adam (Ps. 51:5), had no occasion to reject His light (Rom. 1:20).

Does God speak to us? Yes and amen. Christ’s redemption is of love and He speaks to our hearts the forgiveness of sin and freedom to be welcomed in the eternal story of His glory and eternal kingship, for all who repent and believe (Acts. 3:19-21; Rev. 19:16).

A Baby in a manger. The Savior. Think of this—those He came to serve did not esteem Him as Savior; they did not consider Him precious, did not speak of Him as He deserved (Isa. 53:3). Perhaps you and your baby will not be recognized as your heart desires today. Know and be comforted that the Savior of the world was not given His due. Imperfect recognition, for all kinds of reasons, sadly hovers here.

But we can take our hurts to God; man's recognition does not equal truth, and does not equate to value. Christ is the precious, esteemed, deserving, joy-giving Savior that He was not recognized to be. And, as God, what He recognizes as true is true and valuable. His birth, His death, and His life have graciously spoken worth into our lives and our babies’ lives. And He sacrificially welcomes us to share in His recognition—a future one—which we remember today was birthed and comes forth into all eternity from Christmas and, later, the cross and resurrection. We suffer today. But when He comes for the second time, we who have counted Him all-worthy now will share in His fame then: "[We believers] are recipients of all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3) now, and in the future [we] will share with the Lord Jesus in all the riches of God’s kingdom (John 17:24; 1 Cor. 3:21–23)."[1]

 

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”

Romans 8:17

  

Yes and amen. Praise Him for His great grace this Christmas day.

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Christmas Eve Encouragement: Rest from the Work of Grief

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.  

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