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Christmas Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

Perhaps the Christmas seasons that have meant the most to me have been the ones that were the most difficult. In the hard places, we are often most open to God’s voice.

When I was seven, we spent Christmas morning in the hospital celebrating the good news that my mom and newborn sister were going to live. After battling many illnesses for several months, my mom had given birth to my premature sister (2 pounds and 9 ounces) on Dec. 9. By Dec 25, the prognosis was miraculous. The doctor told my parents that God had been the Great Physician. I began to ponder this God.

When I was twelve, both of my parents had food poisoning and were very ill. My Grandma and I wrapped all the presents on Christmas Eve and filled the stocking. Grandma told me we were “elves”. I began to understand the gift of service.

The Christmas I was pregnant with my first child, Sarah, I contemplated Mary. How must she have felt giving birth to the Son of God? How her heart must have broken when He chose to die for us all...even her. Her son was her Savior.

In 1993, I spent Christmas in bed. I had been in bed for over two months trying to delay the early birth of Taylor. Jesus was so near me that year. His peace surrounded me. Many of our celebrations took place on my bed, yet I had such a spirit of contentment that only comes from God.

There have been Christmas’s when I was mourning those I loved –gone from earth and home with Jesus. This year is a bit like that. My mom-in-law will soon meet Jesus face to face. What a glorious day that will be for her. This Jesus, who came to this sin-soaked earth to die so that we can be in heaven with him. One day soon, Mom will sing with angels the heavenly version of “The Hallelujah Chorus”...and through tears, I will echo the song . . . rejoicing in her joy.

Is this Christmas difficult for you? Trust the One who loves you so much that he came to earth for you. May He fill you with his peace and joy even in the midst of sorrow.

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