Thank you for returning here for another installment on our Advent study of HOPE.
Christmas is full of laughter and lights, shopping and songs, friends and family, but it is not a joyous time for everyone. So many have lost loved ones this year to COVID, including me.
Grief is a strange critter. It sneaks up on you at unexpected moments and then jumps out to knock the wind out of you. One moment I can be perfectly fine and then a minute later I can be in tears when a small object triggers a memory of my husband. I read an article and turn to share it with Gene and discover he is not there. I laugh when I read a joke and realize I am laughing alone. Grief could lead to depression unless we have hope.
A special blessing walks with hope: God’s comfort. Paul, in writing 1 Thess. 4:13, said those who have faith in Christ do not grieve as those without hope. Later he assured the Thessalonians in a second letter that God would console them as they faced trials: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father – who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope – comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”
Mary and Joseph experienced stress as they made do with shelter in a stable and placed their newborn son in a manger, but they also sensed God’s comfort. I have experienced grief first hand in recent months, but I also have felt my Father’s gentle touch. That comfort makes his promises about heaven more real, my hope more firm.
Who in your world has suffered a sad loss this year? Does a neighbor need a word of comfort in their first Christmas season alone? Make a phone call. Pass along the hope and comfort that lie within you!