Yet, the holidays also can be some of the most grief-filled days of the year. In the midst of the joy, we find ourselves struggling with the losses of life. The death of a family member means that their spot around the Thanksgiving table will be vacant and that their stocking will be empty — if we hang it at all.
The loss of a job means that gifts under the tree may be sparse. The wounds of a divorce reopen with the realization that the kids won’t be home for the holidays. The grief this time of the year seems to be at its greatest. What are we to do? How can we cope? Should we just forget the holidays this year?
The Apostle Paul declares that those in Christ Jesus grieve differently than those who have no hope. Paul is not saying that those in Christ do not grieve. Rather, he is teaching us to grieve, yet to grieve with hope.
We grieve with hope when we acknowledge the sorrow of missing those who are no longer with us but celebrate their ongoing contribution to our lives. We grieve with hope when we prepare for tomorrow, instead of cling to yesterday.
We grieve with hope because the Christmas Child is the Easter Savior who promises new life in the midst of our grief, both now and for eternity.
The holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy life and relationships. Yet, as we gather around Thanksgiving tables and Christmas trees this year, let us acknowledge our loss and grieve. But let us not remain in our grief.
Let us remember and practice giving thanks. Let us look to the Christ child and find hope and comfort for today and the promise of life and eternity for tomorrow. Peace.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.