by pastor david
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
What a great time of year this is! Christmas is a favorite time of year for many of us. However, for some, it is the most difficult and unpleasant time of the year. This is often true of those who have had some tragedy or traumatic experience close to or connected with the Christmas season.
For instance, I talked with a friend of mine some time ago whose young son died in 2013 on December 23, leaving a wife and three small children. My friend said he was getting more and more despondent as the anniversary date approached.
My own mother passed away on December 23, 1993. Our families had to have our Christmas dinner and gift exchange before we even had her funeral or buried my mother. Naturally, this time of the year can be difficult, as we think of the void left in our lives.
For some, the Christmas holiday is challenging, not because of the death of a loved one, but because of the death of a relationship – a spouse, a child, or a friend. That person who was such an integral part of your life is now absent for reasons beyond your control. This too makes “celebrating” quite arduous.
Having experienced this kind of despondency myself, may I suggest some strategies that have been helpful to me? When you think about your loved one or the loss…
1. Think about what you had, not what you lost.
2. Think of the good, not the bad.
3. Think of what that person was, not what you wish they were now.
4. Think of what they contributed to your life, not the void they left behind.
5. Think about what God gave, not what you have lost.
6. Think about the fact that you are here, with much to accomplish, not the fact that they are not here.
7. If the person was a Christian, think about meeting them again, not about how badly you miss them now.
8. Let Christ be the Lord of your emotions and, therefore, control the way you feel.
9. Give God the glory, no matter the situation.
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
Please do not misunderstand me! I am not saying you should try to push your loved one out of your thoughts and memory – just the opposite. Think about them. Talk about them. Share your memories, but just do so from a positive platform and not from the mud of self-pity.
Perhaps you know someone who is experiencing this kind of grief right now. Whether you realize it or not, you can help him or her in tremendous ways. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Spend time with them. Don’t let them seclude themselves in self-pity.
2. Ask them about the person they lost or the situation that is causing the grief. They need to talk about it, even though, initially, they may be reluctant.
3. Don’t panic if they cry. Don’t say, “Please don’t cry”. This is their way of dealing with their grief and is very beneficial.
4. Listen intently. Don’t say, “I know how you feel” if you have never had the same experience.
5. As a matter of fact, don’t try to relate similar experiences in your own life. You are there to talk about them and not you. If you have had similar experiences, listening to them will be therapeutic for you as well. You can talk with someone about your situation at another time.
6. Be cautious about giving advice. They need a listening ear more than a therapist at this point. If you sense God does want you to give advice, make sure it is advice that aligns itself with Scripture.
7. Realize that all of these things are simply part of our responsibility as brothers and sisters in Christ and members of the family of God.
(Hebrews 10:25 - New Living Translation)
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourageone another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.”
Yes, Christmas time can be quite challenging for many people. I’ve heard people say, “I hate the Christmas season. I can’t wait till it’s over”. Well, it is really good to know that God understands and is ready and anxious to fill any voids that life may have created in your heart. Additionally, God can use you to help fill those voids in some brother or sister in Christ.
Let’s make Christmas an occasion for true giving - giving our time, giving a listening ear, giving a sympathetic heart.
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
All Bible Christmas Church Membership Discipleship Doctrine Faith Forgiveness Hope Identity Isolated Jesus Life Local Church Love Lust Prayer Purity Repentance Revival Salvation Sin Sovereignty Spiritual Growth Stress Surrender Tolerance Trials Worry Worship