Christmas. Even the word "Christmas" makes us think of cheer, of wonder, of festivities and fun. Yet, for so many it will carry such sorrow, and heavy hearts will sit under lit up trees. There are many reasons that hearts will be heavy each year, but this year I think of the two families I know that between Thanksgiving time and now have each lost a son. One was 12, one just a baby. I can feel the shattering of their hearts into so many little pieces. And, my heart is broken...again.
Sorrow, pain, death, imperfection: our world is so full of it. I sit at a funeral watching a mom look at her 12 year old son's casket, and I remember. I watch the scene that should never be, dad and mom following their lifeless child out of the sanctuary and I know what it is like to go home. It all seems so wrong. The email that the baby won't make it through the night, and he doesn't. And hopes, dreams, lives crumble. These pictures of death happen all over the world, every day. Because our world is fallen, imperfect, not as God intended it to be.
As I sat at that funeral, and watched mom and dad follow their son's casket out, reaching up high behind them were risers in the shape of a giant Christmas tree and it was all lit up. This scene is etched clearly in my mind because as I watched this family and their shattered world, I was reminded. That tree in all its shining wonder reminded me what this season represents. Even as so many will wade through dark waters this Christmas, they do not have to do it without HOPE. God did not turn His back on our imperfect world. He left perfection and entered into our hurt with us. He came to us and brought hope all wrapped up in the form of a tiny baby. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us." He came to us and offers a way to be with him forever, promising that one day he will dry all the tears and heal all the broken hearts. We are not alone, and this life is not all there is. God with us. Hope.
Please pray for these two families and that they could experience the hope of Christ during these difficult times.