It’s been a while since I’ve WRITTEN a blog... I enjoy showing you video posts but I need to do a better job at writing out my thoughts. To say the past six weeks has been a roller coaster would be an understatement.
As I shared in a recent sermon Beth’s father, Bob Bowman, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away two weeks later. We were in Israel at the time and said our goodbyes over a cell phone. I’ve never seen an individual go down physically as quickly as he did. Bob was a believer who loved the Lord, and he used his gift of singing to minister to many.
Thanksgiving was different as I’m sure Christmas will be this year as well.
A couple of years ago I preached a sermon in December titled Blue Christmas. During that sermon I talked about the reality that the holiday season can be a tough time for people. It may be due to the recent loss of a loved one, or it could just be the fact that each year there’s still that empty seat at the table due to a divorce, death or the absence of someone who’s serving our country in the military.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ll still have a meaningful Christmas–but in some ways it will be a different one than we’ve had in the past. There will be some moments that bring tears to Beth’s eyes this month. But God is still on His throne and the good news is that because Christ came to earth and 33 years later conquered the grave, we know for sure that we’ll see Beth’s dad again... and that can transform any Blue Christmas.
In case you are anticipating a different holiday season then perhaps these brief excerpts from that old sermon will encourage you or someone else:
You may have relational, physical, emotional, or financial stress... that doesn’t matter. While it may be a Blue Christmas due to circumstances, it can point you to a bigger picture–one of hope and triumph. You see, the Christmas story reveals how we can have joy in the midst of pain, loneliness, grief, or frustration.
Matthew 1:22,23 says, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means, “God with us.’”
Can you begin to fathom the repercussions of such a statement? I mean if it is true the implications are endless, not just for Mary and Joseph, or the shepherds but for us. It means that God is interested in your life and mine. We aren’t some little wind up robots that go around apart from the caring eye of our creator. Not at all. He went to some great lengths to remove the distance, to bridge the gap to get close to us. And during those Blue Christmases He’s still with us.
Immanuel–God is with us. The Bible says that we have a high priest (Jesus) who can sympathize with us in our weakness. So, in those moments when you find yourself in the midst of a Blue Christmas, during the storms of life... rather than telling God how big your storm is, why not tell your storm how big your God is!
Remember God knows our pain. Our Wonderful Counselor promises to never leave you or forsake you. Regardless of the situation or circumstance... even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you need not fear evil for He is with you. In other words He cares about you. And God promises to take away our pain, ultimately, forever in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 tells us that, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” So even if this December is a tough one for you, you can still be joyful in the midst of suffering if you believe the outcome is worth the pain and that there is a compassionate God who will be beside you in the valley.