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Grief at Christmas: Where God Meets Us

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Grief at Christmas can convey new ache and danger, but the outlet disaster creates can changed into a sacred house for the comfort Christmas brings.

By Laura Skill

If disaster is a mighty river, most of us stay the huge majority of our days from the safety of the shore, the assign the occasional solid wave laps at our toes. Nonetheless inevitably, at some level in our lives, we’ll bag ourselves in over our heads, choking on disaster’s bitter water and grasping for air. Our vessels, battered. Our souls, weary.

Are you experiencing disaster at Christmas? This uncommon year has flooded the riverbanks with collective disaster, as effectively as plunged many into the depths of particular heart-wrenching loss. Holidays can convey a new ache and danger, bringing memories to the ground or empty chairs into focal level. We pass over the presence of what or who we misplaced, and we feel extra acutely the outlet left in the serve of.

That gap, borne of the searing danger of loss, can changed into a sacred house for the comfort Christmas brings.

We know Christmas is about extra than items and peppermint, but generally we fail to take into accout it’s distinguished extra than a birthday party or reenactments of the Nativity.

Christmas celebrates the day God got right here into this world, with blood and disaster. After centuries of waiting, sighs, crying out met with silence, God’s convey joined ours’ starting assign with a piece one’s shout.

The gap disaster creates

5 years previously, I had a Christmas love no other. That Tumble, I’d waded in the waters of disaster with liked ones for his or her losses: A dear household friend’s son had taken his bear lifestyles. A precious sister in Christ’s little one turned into as soon as stillborn. My husband’s grandfather and uncle passed away. Then, I turned into as soon as thrust below the water: I suffered a miscarriage the first week of December.

All of this took location whereas my husband, daughter, and I were 8,000 miles a ways flung from our families. I’d below no conditions experienced such acute danger and loss sooner than. My disaster at Christmas felt all-entertaining—love the whole world and the entirety in and around me turned into as soon as fleshy of loss of life.

That Christmas turned into as soon as unlike any I’d ever experienced. And that December will persistently be a treasured memory I preserve in my heart. No topic feeling consumed with the actual fact of loss of life, I take into accout feeling most entirely alive and most entirely human.

Grief created what first and significant felt love a deafening silence. I had no desire to bear it with the favorite noise (TV reveals, never-ending social media scrolling). My disaster saved me from singing along with Christmas hymns, but my heart absorbed the phrases into deeper locations, even because the tears rolled down my cheeks. The minor chords of longing and waiting and needing decision matched the music in my soul.

But, I found that in allowing myself to take a seat down in the silence and to feel the probability of barrenness, God turned into as soon as transforming the gaping gap into a colossal house of comfort.

How? Christmas.

The right kind Christmas Jesus

For the first time in my lifestyles, I met Christmas Jesus—God with Us (peep Matthew 1: 23).

I met the Jesus who got right here to hitch us in our bloody, broken danger. The Jesus who had conflicts with siblings, experienced diseases and abandonment, turned into as soon as the subject of scorn and misunderstanding. The Jesus who experienced the loss of life of His adoptive father and about a of His closest associates. Who turned into as soon as extra responsive to the suffering around Him than we may maybe presumably well well ever be (the suffering literally sought Him out and followed Him) and experienced the constraints His humanity imposed on Him. The One who suffered a silence we are able to below no conditions must suffer—thanks to His work on the Inaccurate—to be forsaken by God.

I idea Christmas Jesus turned into as soon as a contented, stout little one—halo of sunshine resting on His head. And somewhere in my mind, that haloed little one grows as much as be felt-board Jesus from Sunday college, flat and unmoving, stoic and unaffected by the brokenness around Him.

Neither of these photography appear to bear distinguished to claim to our blood, sweat, and tears. The right kind Christmas Jesus grew as much as say over tables on americans taking income of the sad, offend and scenario these with vitality, stroll on stormy seas (and aloof them), cry overtly over unnecessary hearts and unnecessary our bodies, and changed into insecure ample to sweat blood in Gethsemane. There’s nothing stoic, flat, or unmoving about the correct Christmas Jesus—He got right here to be with us. For us. To reward us what it skill to be entirely human.

And in this broken world, being entirely human skill grieving.

God with us in disaster’s floodwaters

Whenever you happen to slay up in disaster’s churning waters this Christmas, let me first express, I’m so sorry. Death and loss are fraction of lifestyles this facet of heaven. Nonetheless please take into accout one thing being frequent doesn’t diminish the probability. Christmas is about God coming into our danger, our mess. About light coming into the darkness.

So let me provide a glimmer of hope in the storm: You will not drown.

I take into accout walking thru a historical fraction of town with a friend who’s identified many hardships. We passed a resplendent mature church and he or she told me the shape of many church buildings is supposed to mimic the underside of a ship, the arc, to remind believers that Jesus affords suited haven from the floodwaters and storms of lifestyles. He does now not lead us into the waters of danger and disaster without going sooner than us. Cling to Him for dear lifestyles; He will not bolt away you.

God the Father is aware of the agony of being a grieving guardian—shedding His simplest son whom He liked. Jesus, most certainly the most entirely alive human to ever stroll the planet, turned into as soon as a man of sorrows, effectively familiar with disaster and danger. He lived his complete lifestyles knee-deep in disaster’s waters and in the slay dove deeper than any of us ever will to reward us the vogue. He is aware of disaster is spacious; His worship is increased.

In disaster at Christmas, put off your eyes

There turned into as soon as one note-image steady thru my bear season of despair that helped transform the vogue I felt about my disaster and my God. In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, the significant personality, Digory, turned into as soon as grieving that his mother turned into as soon as on her deathbed.

“Nonetheless please, please—obtained’t you—can’t you give me one thing that can treatment Mom?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s spacious ft and the colossal claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw tremendously shocked him as distinguished as one thing in his whole lifestyles. For the tawny face turned into as soon as bent down come his bear and (wonder of wonders) spacious titillating tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such substantial, intellectual tears in comparison with Digory’s bear that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must if truth be told be sorrier about his Mom than he turned into as soon as himself.

“My son, my son,” acknowledged Aslan. “I do know. Grief is spacious.”

Expensive fellow mourner, this is the wonder of Christmas. Our God’s face bent down come our bear, His disaster even increased than our bear. You may maybe presumably well well furthermore feel it turned into as soon as His “spacious ft” and “colossal claws” that thrust you in disaster’s waters, but that’s now not His location in the direction of you. He’s bent down, bent low with you, spacious titillating tears matching, exceeding yours, responding with tenderness and empathy.

Shock of wonders, indeed.

Copyright © 2020 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Laura Skill serves with FamilyLife as a creator and lives in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with her high-college-teaching-husband, Aubrey, and their two vivid younger daughters. She and Aubrey lived in East Asia for seven years till relocating last year. She enjoys writing about turning into extra entirely human whereas sojourning thru a range of locations, seasons of lifestyles, and terrains of mental and non secular health at

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