A Heavy Heart Changed by Hope
The holidays can be so bright and cheerful, but only if the heart accepts that.
This week I have seen two different families remember and mourn this season. Each experienced a death of their newborn children. One had two children die just days after they were born. No simple song like Jingle Bells or I'll be Home for Christmas will lift those hearts out of the dark dungeon of grief.
I did not see despair. Each of those mothers is choosing to find hope this Christmas. They are choosing joy over heavy grief. They are choosing remembering instead of obsessing. They are choosing to find Christ as their hope again.
I found it interesting that I as observed these mothers, my daily reading in She Reads Truth also echoed the same sentiment. Today, December 21, 2017, the writer shared the first Christmas after her little brother's death. The family chose one or two specific things that had to happen that Christmas as they were processing their grief. One chose to stay at a hotel to avoid waking up on Christmas Eve and seeing that room (of her brother) to be empty. The mother chose to light luminaries throughout the neighborhood to give a little bit of light on that dark night. Ironic almost. She is lighting a dark road with candlelight when her own heart feels weighted down by a heavy blanket of grief.
But then the author remembers Mary from Luke 1. She recalls that Mary, a young teenage virgin was told impossible news that she was pregnant. And on the opposite end of the woman's fertility cycle, Elizabeth was also going to bear a child. Again. Usually, this is impossible news. Then she states...
"While it’s never a guarantee that Christmas will be merry and bright, Christ's birth lights our path to an eternal hope. Hope doesn’t just latch onto imperfect circumstances—it requires them...
No matter how barren our lives feel, we, as God's people, are expectant. The waiting season of Advent calls us to intensely believe not just in what has happened, but what is coming. (She Reads Truth)
You may be experiencing barrenness (emptiness) this Christmas. Your heart may not be filled with joy and lights. And that is ok. No one is requiring you to put on a cheesy grin and be all fake. And neither should you think that. But what Christ is doing through your grief is pointing you to His coming again. He is the one that WILL fill our heart with joy. He is the one that will wipe away our tears. He is the one that will make all wrongs to be right.
How does that joy look like for you? Does joy have to be skipping around, singing carols, throwing tinsel everywhere? No. Absolutely not. Joy in Christ is often characterized by peace. A quietness of heart. A soothing balm to an aching soul. A new presence of hope to continue on another day. And another one. And another one.
And so my dear reader. Do not give up. Just as Mary and Elizabeth saw the coming Messiah as their hope through impossible circumstances, I implore you as well to find Him as the key to your hope this December.
Remembering His birth will shine a bright light into your darkened heart because He is the only one who can give you true light.