There is a fairly popular Kirk Franklin song from a couple of years ago called You Are Not Alone. This song talks about losses in our life, and how Jesus is always with us through these tough times. For many people, the holidays are so very difficult because its the one time of year we feel our loss the most. For me, Christmastime is very teary. So many of the people I’ve lost in the past 12 years have died around the holidays. And even though I’ve grieved the loss of these precious lives, I am more startlingly reminded of their absence amidst the holiday festivities.
My Oma and my mother were both totally nuts about Christmas. They loved the holiday and went all out for it. Their houses were always beautifully decorated around Thanksgiving time. Oma would bake dozens and dozens of traditional German cookies to share with the family. And my mother would make beautiful ornaments, wreaths, and floral arrangements to share with friends and family as her way of ringing in the season. They would both spend hours meticulously buying and wrapping presents – artistically arranging them under the tree. Stockings were hung around the house, scented candles were lit, one of the many Manheim Steamroller albums played softly in the background, and lights twinkled and danced Christmas wishes to all who would stop by. They loved nothing more than to spend the holidays with family – feasting and laughing together. Without them, Thanksgiving and Christmas just feel incomplete.
We often find security in relationships – a spouse, parent, best friend, or even a family member. We are secure in knowing that this person loves us unconditionally. They are always there for us when we need a friend or a shoulder to cry on. We gain strength and comfort from them. But when we find ourselves suddenly without this source of strength; whether they chose to leave us or were taken away in death; we feel lost – alone – and even abandoned.
This kind of loss is always painful. A long period of grieving usually follows. And often times we lose hope because our entire sense of security and self was dependent on our relationship with this person. On the other hand, if we look to Jesus for our sense of self, we will still ache over the loss, but we won’t lose our identity – our hope.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not life, not death, not sickness, not pain. If we are clinging to him, He will give us the strength to go on; to face the unthinkable, and to remain hopeful in the future. With him we can still have the courage to accomplish His purpose for our lives, even if we go it alone.
No matter what your circumstances this holiday season, I encourage and challenge you to look to Jesus as your source of strength. He may choose to provide for your well-being through a special relationship with a loved one, or he may choose another way. Please remember that He wants to be your source of hope and encouragement, and he will never leave you or forsake you. He has promised to walk with us every step of the way. Sometimes he leads and sometimes he carries. No matter what sorrows the road ahead will bring he will love you through it all; and if you’ll put your trust in Him I guarantee he will give you a renewed sense of joy this holiday season.
“Precious Heavenly Father, thank you so much for your promise to stay with us every step of life’s journey. You know that our road is often dark and dangerous, and our hearts are often burdened and sad. Thank you for being our encouragement, our light, and our source of strength. Help us to rejoice as we remember the love we shared with the ones who are lost to us now, and give us the strength to cling to you as our comforter when we are reminded of the pain of our loss. Thank you for Jesus, who never leaves us alone – its in his most majestic name I pray…amen.”