Yesterday we put the finishing touches on our 1,500 piece Christmas puzzle and three edge pieces were missing! Almost immediately, Denise said, “This is like the three special people who are missing from our lives this Christmas.” It was one of those moments when you know that the words spoken really ring true. Those “missing pieces” in our lives are Denise’s Mom (1/4/12), Chris, our 42-year-old nephew (12/29/11), and Shelley, our 41-year-old spiritual daughter (7/26/12). We have also had a number of extended family members and friends who have died this year, and we are aware that some of you reading this have also lost family members and dear friends. For others, you may not have lost someone to death but there may be someone who is unable to be with you and thus an important “piece” is missing from your Christmas gathering.
The longer we live, the more we understand the “tension” that we experience in our relationship with God. During times of gratefulness and celebration–like at Christmas–for the gift of Jesus Christ in our lives, we also experience feelings of grief or sadness for the losses that seem even bigger at these special times. Even Jesus understood this “tension” as written in Hebrews 12:2 . . . “for the joy set before him, endured the cross . . . ” The pain and grief of the cross did not take away from the joy, but they existed together. And the joy that would follow Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead did not cause Jesus to quiet Martha and Mary’s grief, but rather he wept with them (John 11:35).
So as you celebrate the ultimate Gift of Jesus again this Christmas and if you also feel sadness or grief over certain losses that are especially difficult at this time, the Father understands and feels with you. Give Him your heart this Christmas–both the joy and the sadness–as your heart is your ultimate gift to Him.
We hope you have a very special Christmas.
Jerry and Denise and The Father’s Heart Ministry