Unwrap Christmas
© Ferna Lary Mills
Just days to go until Christmas. My thoughts run amuck. From joy at the reason for the season,
to anxiety at the hustle-bustle of last minute shopping, to excitement as I view Christmas from
the eyes of my grandchildren, to sorrow while missing the ones who are no longer present with
us during the holidays. Moment by moment my mood swings like a pendulum. Does yours do
that, too?

Taking a moment for reflection, I sat on the porch in unusually warm fall temperatures and
pondered the true reason for the season to get my mind back on the right track. Then I heard
the sirens and they pierced my heart. My first thought was, "Oh no. Not this time of year.
Please God." I couldn't bear the thought of the grief that some family was going to have to go
through so close to the holidays as I listened to the ambulance wail until I could hear it no
longer.

Then, I remembered, it doesn't matter how close to the holidays our grief occurs. Grief is grief.
Everyone . . . every single one of us . . . who has lost a loved one, will have to deal with our
loved one's absence during the holidays. It's no piece of cake and it's certainly not easy as pie.
It's hard, painful, and empty, for ALL of us. Of course, brand new fresh-out-of-the-oven grief is
a lot harder to swallow than that old grief that just hangs around to taunt us at special times
when we are caught unaware. But grief is still grief and it all smells the same. It stinks. It
hollows out the empty shell of our heart and grinds our joy to a halt.

There is a remedy for this ache inside, and it's a remedy that I've found tried-and-true first
hand, but one that even I must constantly remind myself of so as to avoid falling into my own
mire of grief. Unwrap the true meaning of Christmas and you will find it. This remedy is love.
Not just any love, but the love of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  For only He can fill this void, this
ache, and give us the strength to find that true Joy of the Season.

In remembering the reason for the season, we must remind ourselves that Christmas isn't big
dinners, lots of presents, and the warmth of family. Oh, those are the nicest things, but those
things aren't Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the perfect gift
God gave to us out of his immeasurable love for us. Because of this one gift, we are given the
chance at eternal life, and the promise of seeing our lost loved ones again. Life is now
FOREVER. Death is only a temporary separation between the living and the deceased. And
trust me, reunions ARE being planned, even as we weep.

In remembering this, I find that joy returns and allows me to celebrate this holiday even in my
loved one's absence. I know they are each celebrating Christmas this year at Jesus' feet. In my
mind I try to picture them, enraptured with the Joy of the Lord, in that glorious place where
there "is no more sorrow"
. Their faces are radiant, their illnesses are cured, and their "joy has
now been made complete." How dare I wallow in grief for there is nothing ~ absolutely nothing
that their lives are now lacking! There is only a temporary separation from me, and in the
timetable of all eternity, this temporary separation is to them, but a mere moment.  I will fully
understand this "mere moment" only when my time comes to join them in that Heavenly home.

There is a poem that states something about "if tears could build a stairway I would walk up to
heaven and bring you back again".  No, I would not. I wouldn't dare bring my loved ones back
to the pain and suffering they had to endure in this life. They have earned the right to their joy,
and they have earned the right to know that the ones they left behind are doing okay in their
absence. They paid that u
ltimate price for the joy they now possess, and I shall not mourn their
right to be free from pain and suffering and to now reside in a place that radiates pure,
immeasurable Joy!

Yes, they are still going to be missed and their absence is still going to be painfully felt, but we
must find that place in our heart that unselfishly wishes them Peace and Joy and allows us to
rejoice in the true spirit of Christmas.

Whether your grief is new or long suffering, whether you are grieving the loss of one or of
many, may you find comfort in the true meaning of Christmas, and the knowledge that these
sorrows will not last. Joy will return. He has promised!
Isn't that, after all, what Christmas is all
about?


Unwrap the true meaning of Christmas and allow God to bless you and bring you His Blessed
Peace.

                              Merry Christmas


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