This is a previous blog I wrote in 2016. I thought I would re-publish this, for a time such as this. My prayers are that everyone who has lost a loved one this year may find some comfort during the next few weeks. I pray for healing, restoration, and peace that can only be found in Christ. I understand in the early days after our loss we have tremendous support. As time goes on people gradually return to their lives and we are left feeling loneliness we have never known before. Unless they have experienced the devastation of losing a loved one, they truly don’t understand how we need them today just as much as the day our loved ones left. When you feel all of life-crushing you and cannot go another step, remember you can call on God to renew your strength.
“Bereaved” means to be “torn apart and to have special needs.” At some point in time, everyone will experience the loss of someone they deeply love. Death is no respecter of persons. 100% of us will be affected at some point. Grieving is long hard work and there really is no shelf life. The loss lives on in our hearts as long as it is still beating.
Today I find myself facing another year in the Christmas holiday season. I will be honest with you, this year I don’t want to participate. I don’t want to decorate, bake, shop or send out cards. I just want it to be over. I look and can’t seem to find the joy I am supposed to have. Then I find myself immersed in spiritual failure. Feeling shame and judging myself. It hurts! This year I am finding it hurts just as bad as the first year. My family is not complete. It’s not what it once was.
I was reading in Haggai today. I was struck by a parallel in my journey. God was instructing the Jews to rebuild the temple.
Haggai 1:8 Now go up into the hills and bring down timber and rebuild my house.
His house was lying in ruins. The Jews were discouraged because the rebuilt temple was inferior to the grand temple Solomon had built. God told the people to “take courage and work for I am with you, my spirit remains among you, do not be afraid.” That was a big command to hang in there and don’t quit!
In verse 9 He says, “The future glory of this temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord Almighty.” And in this place, I will bring peace. In 1 Corinthians it says my body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Or don’t you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God.
I know my temple is still in the building process, but I have begun to lay the foundation. How glorious it will be when Jesus returns and reigns worldwide on earth. Until then God has called each one of us to rebuild our broken temples. In the death of our loved ones, we know our lives will never be the same. With God by our side he will give us the strength to replace each piece of broken timber with new timber, silver, and gold, and as he says in verse 7 “I will fill this place with Glory”!
So, if you find you are struggling to find your joy during this Christmas season don’t be so hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself as you journey through brokenness and grief. Pick up that little piece of timber and place it in your temple and see the glory of what God is doing in your life. Judgment, shame, and spiritual failure are lies of the enemy.
I am thankful for what I do have; a loving supportive husband (who gives me a daily dose of strength), a wonderful son and daughter in law and three beautiful grandsons. If I choose to focus with loving gratitude for these wonderful gifts of silver and gold God has given me, just maybe I will find that joy of Christmas I am deeply searching for and my temple isn’t so shabby after all.
May you find your silver and gold this year and celebrate the joy of Christmas!
© 2016 Beverly Shoemaker republished 2019
One thought on “Restoring the “Joy” of Christmas”
Hello, Bev. Hope this gets to you. I was reading again the paperwork you had sent to me – made me think of you.
Please message me back. Craig is in Houston, without power – but he’ s alright . How are you?