What Christmas Means To Me 2011

Grief doesn't stop just because a holiday rolls around. Very often, in fact, it intensifies. Here is some very practical advice on walking through the holiday season, when you're feeling less than jolly.

Snowflake on ground covered with snow
Grief doesn't take a vacation, just because the holidays roll around.

It's been almost a month since my last posting. While we've been busy with the daily things of life, five close friends, family, people we grew up with, and people we've known professionally have passed on, and I've taken this time for some quiet reflection. It's also been a month of significant physical struggle for my health with all of the stress. Often in this blog, I discuss life change from the perspective of nutrition, supplements, or health.

Today, I'd like to discuss life change from another angle. As we've watched those we care about grieve, and grieved ourselves, it's hard to know the holidays are right around the corner. Knowing that spot at the dinner table will be empty this year, and every year to come, knowing that as my Great Aunt whispered in my ear at one of the funerals, "Life will never be the same." It's true. I've seen and spoken with family members who would have moved heaven and earth to change this separation from their loved ones.

This year, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning to me. It's not about toys or tinsel, or trite Christmas carols about cute little babies in mangers. It's about separation and loss, but not the way you might think. You see, the Creator God knows all about separation and loss. Each one of us who is not reconciled to him will spend an eternity separated from the ONE who made us. I've often wondered how God could love us so much that He would send his Son to be mocked, rejected, persecuted, and executed in the cruelest way possible. As a parent myself, it never made sense because I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice my children for people who had rejected me. I've wondered why Jesus would subject himself to pain and death for people who largely didn't even care about his sacrifice. But as I've observed suffering this month, as I've experienced this process in such a concentrated way, it's hit me- THE REAL REASON FOR CHRISTMAS.

Christmas is about a God willing to do WHATEVER it took to keep from being separated from YOU and from ME. Christmas is about a God willing to be confined to human form to tell us in the only way he could that he loved us and that separation from us was too unbearable to even consider. Christmas is about a GOD willing to MOVE HEAVEN and EARTH to be reconciled to you.

So today, remember two things: First, God is crazy in love with you. He wants to be with you forever and ever. He wants you to know that he sacrificed everything so that you could be with him for all eternity.

Second, don't forget those who are grieving this holiday season. Not everyone will have a "Merry Christmas" this year, but we can have hope, knowing that the God of all Creation, of all eternity, stepped into time to show his love and desire to be with us forever. This separation through death is difficult, to be sure, but I know every one of those we have lost is safe in the arms of Jesus now. So as I and my family miss them, we will remember that the separation is temporary, and God's love and peace are eternal.

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