"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NASB)
Two Christmases ago, I sat quietly contemplating the cordless phone that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand.
No one was awake yet, so it was the perfect time to pick up the phone and call my grandmother.
But that morning, my heart hurt.
You see, as the eldest granddaughter, every Christmas it was my job, my assignment, to pick up the phone and call her. Then I’d pass the phone around to everyone else so she and my grandfather could talk to everyone.
This Christmas, however, I felt twinges of physical pain because this special day, when I called, I knew she wouldn’t be picking up the phone.
Of course, I would still call my grandfather and everyone would be glad to hear his voice, wish we could be closer and express our love to him … but we would also miss hearing her voice.
Sometimes there is mourning in the midst of the merry.
That Christmas day, there would be plenty of laughter, kids squealing with joy, hugs exchanged and catching up with loved ones. There would be good food shared and memories made. That Christmas day there would be lots of things that are just the same as they are every year.
All except one.
I felt the mourning in the midst of the merry.
I wonder if when Jesus was on Earth, He missed His heavenly Father.
I wonder if He felt off-balance because He exchanged the glorious singing of the angels for the soft sounds of sheep. I wonder if He had immediate grief in His heart as the love He had for mankind was mixed with the mourning of a known difficult and short life and an awareness of a painful and hard death.
I wonder if Christmas day — the day that Christ was born — was a day of mourning, too.
I wonder if Mary wished her mother were there to help her deliver her new baby. I wonder if she was saddened at her station in life. Did she wish that she had more to give her new son than a birth in a manger?
I wonder if she mourned the absence of her friends. Did she feel alone? Lost in a big world that seemed not to see her? I wonder if Christmas day — the day Mary delivered her baby — was a day of mourning, too.
I wonder if the holiday season — the time of year where you sit right now reading this devotion — is a time of mourning for you. I wonder if you’re lamenting another Christmas season spent not quite the way you thought.
I wonder if you’re grieving because someone you love is not here this year. I wonder if you’re sad because you feel alone, or life isn’t quite where you’d like it to be. I wonder if you feel twists or twinges in your heart as the notes from "Joy to the World" don’t seem to ring true in your life. I wonder.
Sometimes, there is mourning in the midst of the merry.
And I don’t have an answer. I don’t have anything monumental to say to get rid of the heart-hurts you might have today.
But I do know that if we keep going, mourning can TURN into merry.
I know Mary saw her Son live the only perfect life in history. Any mother would love to see her children live their lives well.
I know there was glory waiting for Jesus after the agony of the cross.
And I know that while I miss my grandmother, I will see her again one day.
You will not always be in this place. You will not always feel the same intensity of hurt, pain or sadness. You will not always feel lonely.
Sometimes there is mourning. But the merry is still happening.
Walk through the mourning. Don’t deny it. Be honest about the pain or ache that you feel. But don’t miss the merry.
That morning two Christmases ago, I sat quietly contemplating the cordless phone that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. I felt the mourning, but I discovered an opportunity to find the merry.
I pressed the button that would give me a dial tone and began making that call to my grandfather.
Dear God, thank You for knowing me intimately and loving me in the middle of my mourning moments. Thank You for the hope, joy and peace You offer. Please help me through the difficult times I face this holiday season. Lord, please help me recognize the opportunities to find the merry and to see where Your hope, joy and peace are available still. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NASB)
If you or someone close to you can relate to the feelings of mourning in the merry, you might appreciate An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell.
God sees you and is near to those who are brokenhearted. Click here to download a free printable — a gift that Chrystal Evans Hurst has made available just for you.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If this holiday season is difficult for you, take a moment to share the story behind your mourning. There are others who would love to encourage you today.
If you have ever experienced the pain of grief or loneliness during the holiday season, what tips or encouragement can you offer to someone that desires to find the "merry" even in the midst of their mourning? Share in the comments section.
© 2015 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105