Merry Christmas in Times of Grief

As we gather to celebrate the birth of our Savior, my family has mixed emotions. We cling to God because He is the only one seeing us through the difficulties of our lives.

Death has surrounded us.  In November, our 24 year old niece died in a horse riding accident. She was riding her horse and suffered a brain injury.  Our extended family celebration had sadness, joy, grief and thanksgiving. A combination of emotions.

As I prepare for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the day of Jesus Christ’s birth, I am reminded of my favorite Christmas carol. I hope it encourages you as you prepare for Christmas.

If you’ve read my blog for a few years, you might remember that my favorite Christmas carol is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. To me, it’s more of an Advent carol. On the way to my family’s Christmas celebration yesterday, I heard a cool instrumental version from Casting Crowns.

ideas to help rejoice at Christmas, even in the midst of pain & suffering

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Emmanuel means “God with us”. God is with us in times of sorrow, in times of of joy, in times of pain, in times of suffering, in times of excitement. No matter what’s going on in your life, God is with you as your Savior. This year, I need to be reminded that God is with me during the holidays.

It’s okay & perfectly normal to admit your pain to God, knowing God is the only one who can truly comfort you in your time of grief.

I am also reminded to rejoice in God, even in the midst of sorrow. Although many families rejoice easily at Christmas, many mourn over loss, pain, trials & suffering. My prayer is that we (our family) rejoice in our Savior . . . Jesus Christ, who suffered the greatest loss when He was separated from the Father as He paid the price for our sins on the cross.

If you are finding it difficult to rejoice, spend time in prayer being thankful. As I drive from my parents’ home to my daughter’s home today, I will be thanking God for Jesus, thanking God for our trials (that’s really hard for me), thanking God for His comfort & peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:4-7

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