A Different Kind of Joy
A Different Kind of Joy
Just the mention of the word Christmas typically sends my heart into joyful leaps! It has always been my favorite time of year. December 26th is always my saddest day of the year because Christmas will never be farther away than that day. I love the memories of Christmas past that come flooding back with the smell of cranberry candles or of fresh cut pine. I love seeing the first lights around the neighborhood and taking the long way home to meander through the streets as my eyes light up as I take in each beautifully decorated house. I love to think of each person on my list and try to come up with the exact gift that will show them that I love them and cherish them. I love every little thing about Christmas. Most of all I love being focused on Christ and the gift He gave us when He left heaven to come to this earth; the journey He walked and the ultimate price He paid out of love for me. I love Christmas!
But this year is different. I still love all the reminders of Christ’s gift but the joy, the childlike joy, is not there this year. I’ve experienced a tremendous loss this year with the death of my father. The burden weighs heavier as the Christmas season grows closer. My heart is heavy this season with friends battling cancer, marriages of loved ones falling apart and the helplessness I feel. My eyes are constantly filled with tears as I keep telling myself, “This is Christmas! I should be joyful! What is wrong with me?” Then, as He often does, I felt a gentle whisper come over me this morning as I sat to pray and seek God’s help. God made it clear to me that He was with me and He understood my sadness. It suddenly occurred to me that God experienced sadness on Christmas day as well; the realization of having to send Christ to the earth knowing what He would have to endure and the loss that Heaven would feel. He sent His son to die on a cross and His journey began on Christmas day. I heard a song that sang, “How could heaven’s heart not break on the day that you came?” It simply put into words all I was feeling.
God’s love for us is why He endured that heartache; why it was worth it to send His son to die. Realizing that God has felt loss and pain makes Him even more of a comforter in my heart. He truly knows what I am feeling, but most of all He sees the whole plan. He knew from the beginning of time that the only way to reconcile His beloved children to Him, to save them from His justified wrath for our sin, would be to send Jesus to take the punishment for us. He had a plan and therefore the pain was worth it.
God has a plan for me, for my friends whose marriages are struggling, for my friends battling cancer, and for you as well. While the pain seems unbearable right now, God’s plan will come to pass and the pain will have been worth it. So this Christmas season I am grateful that God has opened my eyes to His love on a whole new level. He’s opened my eyes to the heartbreak that He too felt on that first Christmas morning. When Jesus rose from the grave and defeated sin once and for all, the pain had been worth it; not only was He reunited with His precious son in Heaven but He knew that we would each place our faith in Him and someday be reunited with Him forever in a place where there is no more tears and no more pain. As I make a choice to focus my heart on that truth the sadness is still there but somehow my heart is filled with joy; the joy in the truth that my God is good and perfect and holy and the pain I feel is only temporary. Hallelujah!