Christmas is not an easy time when a loved one is nearing death. I know this first hand, as I had to say goodbye to my mom two years ago. Mom knew the Lord and was not afraid to die. But is it never easy to say goodbye to a parent?
Even when you know death is not final, that your loved one will be reunited with family members who have gone before them, the reality of loss is still difficult to embrace.
I am grateful for the time we have had together, happy that we worked through our differences in years past. The last time I crawled in to her hospital bed and lay there quietly with my arm around her, we didn’t have to speak. It was a silent night; all was calm and all was at peace.
And I wondered… What did God feel the night He gave His Son to be born in a lowly manager, knowing 33 years later, his son would die? The tiny babe would grow in stature and be put to death for our sins. On this side of Heaven, the celebration of birth is always matched with the reality of death.
But the baby Jesus brought hope. The plan to save us was put into motion by the birth of the Christ child. The story of Christmas ends with the triumph of God. One day, there will be no more tears, no sorrows, and no disease.
Rejoice! Our Light has come!
So if you must prepare to say goodbye to someone you love, have hope. As the person passes from this life into the presence of God, you will see that person again worshipping around the throne of the babe who was the light of the world.
On a starry night long ago, darkness gave way to light. And that light remains no matter how dark the night may be.
There is no place like home for the holidays unless it is filled with family members who seem to have nothing better to do then criticize or complain. So to maintain a little peace on earth, think about how you want to respond to the family digs. Here are a few examples:
1) Does Rachel ever sit still at the table? “I know, she is really excited this year. Normally, I would be on her but it is a holiday so I’m giving her a bit more leeway.”
2) Ricky is eating a bunch of cookies. Don’t you want to stop him? “Thanks for your concern but it’s only one day out of the year. It’s OK today.”
3) I noticed that your children didn’t say thank you when they opened their gifts. “But you did notice that I told them to say thank you. I think they were very excited and just needed a reminder today.”
4) Are you still single? “I am but the good news is that I am not going through a divorce or having marital problems!”
5) You know, our tax dollars are paying for your unemployment. “And I appreciate that. I am really trying to find a job and if you know of any leads, please let me know.”
6) Haven’t you been in school for a long time? “It seems like forever. But I am determined to get my degree. Keep me in your prayers!”
7) You might want to think twice about taking that second piece of pie. “I am. Being intentional about what I eat is one of my goals. So if I eat this now, I will need to cut back later. What is your weight loss strategy?”
8) Are you and Jim having marital problems? “That’s really personal and I’d like to focus on the holiday. But thanks for your concern.”
9) I would never allow my dog to be on the furniture. “People have really different ideas when it comes to their pets. I’m glad you see that!”
10) Are you really going to use paper plates? “I am. I have dishes but I thought this would make clean up easier and give us more time together. Thanks for understanding.”