Saturday, December 25, 2010

mixed emotions

"And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us, and we
 beheld His glory, the glory
as of the only begotten of
the Father, full of grace and truth"
(John 1:14)

Like many other people tonight, I am sitting in a warm house, comfortably relaxing on my couch. As my husband and I watch "It's a Wonderful Life" the lights on our Christmas tree bring a soft, peaceful glow to the room. We are anticipating a wonderful day tomorrow with our children and grandchildren. The day will be full of fun and excitement. Joyful chaos will descend upon our household in the form of 6 amazing grandchildren.

Love will abound. God's goodness will be evident. The presence of our Savior will be welcomed and embraced.

We will enjoy good food and fellowship. We will have a good time giving and receiving gifts. We are abundantly blessed and generously graced by our Lord.

As I sit here tonight and think about all of this, I am struck by the reality that although many families will be experiencing a joy filled day as well, there are many families that won't have that privilege.

There is a family that is still mourning the loss of their 21 month old  boy just a few short weeks ago. A little boy that was full of life until a tragic accident at his house took his life.

There is a little girl named Jessica, who at age 4 was just diagnosed with cancer a few days ago. Tonight her family is in the hospital waiting for test results so the doctors can begin plans to treat the stage 4 cancer that is in this precious baby's body.

There is a family here in my town, that is still grieving over the loss of their 10 year old daughter, Zoe, in a car accident about a month ago.

There is a little boy named Skyler, who is 4 years old and battling leukemia with many complications. He and his mom are spending Christmas in the hospital. And they spent Thanksgiving there, too. And her birthday. And Halloween. In fact, little Skyler has been in the hospital since August.

There is a family whose little 20 month old twin girl, Evie, died in her sleep a little over 2 weeks ago. She evidently had meningitis and they didn't know it.

A precious lady named Cindy experienced the loss of her husband today as was swept home to be with the Lord.

It breaks my heart to realize that these families aren't sitting in their comfortable homes tonight, watching Christmas shows, drinking hot chocolate, enjoying the lights on their trees and anticipating a grand celebration of our Lord's birth tomorrow. Their precious children aren't nestled snug in their beds in new pajamas, with smiles on their faces.

Instead they are struggling with raw emotions of grief. Stark emotions of disbelief. Trying to get through another day with no bad news.  Trying to smile when they feel like crying. Instead they are cradling their little children as the chemo they are taking is making them sick. They are praying for a good nights sleep. They are praying for their children to just make it through the night. Some of them are gazing at the empty beds that should be filled with their precious children that are now in the arms of Jesus.

And my heart is heavy for them as they experience what no parent should have to experience.

But for the grace of God, any one of us could be in that same place in the blink of an eye. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. None of us are immune to tragedy. None of us exempt from suffering.

But the one thing we can know for sure is that we can place our hope in Jesus. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even in our grief and our sorrow, He is there. He will cradle us in our sadness. Comfort us in our mourning. Give us peace in the midst of uncertainty. Embrace us with His sweet spirit. Where there seems to be no hope, there is God. When there seems to be no answers, there is God. When all appears lost, there is God.

As we awaken in the morning to our healthy families and overwhelming abundance, let's remember to say a prayer for those less fortunate than us. Let's pray for all those children that are battling life threatening illnesses. Let's pray for their parents as they try to remain strong. Let's pray for those parents still in shock at the loss of their precious babies.

Every day God gives us an amazing gift. The gift of life. Every blessing He bestows upon us is one not deserved, but one so graciously dispensed to us. God is so good. May we be ever thankful for the greatest gift He gave us in the form of a baby. His only begotten Son. Fully God. Fully Man. Born to be our Savior. Born to be the redemption for our sins. Born to give us eternal life.

Thank you, Father, for the gift of grace. May I never take lightly the sacrifice you made for me. May I be ever mindful of your infinite power and your unending mercy. You are everything to me and I love you with all that I am.

May the peace of God flood your hearts. May He be so evident in your life that He blows you away with His presence. May Jesus be the focus of our celebration.

 Merry Christmas!


sister sheri said...

Merry Christmas, Beth! Saying an extra prayer for those who are experiencing Christmas in a way they never imagined... May the presence of the Lord fill their hearts and home and mind.

Risa French said...

Beth, this is exactly what i had posted on my facebook. My heart has been so heavy for so many that have lost their loved ones and cant be with them for Christmas. I also lost a very dear friend of mine to cancer 3 weeks ago.......and her name was "Joy". She was 51 years old. And i cried when Meg gave me the gift you sent because one of the little books says "JOY" on the front and it was so evident how God was in the heart of that gift in so many ways. I have felt such a turmoil of emotions for quiet some time much to the point that i could'nt find much Joy in anything.......and it was the feeling of "the loss" of my daughter, my friend, and actually losing myself in grief that was of my own doing. Thank you for the gift. you cant imagine how much it meant to me. God Bless you and Merry Christmas, Risa

Every Day Blessings said...

Merry Christmas Beth! I am so grateful for my family and all that the ways the Lord blesses us. I appreciate your heart of compassion as we think of the sadness around us, may we be the arms of our Lord Jesus as we tenderly care for those we have been entrusted with. blessings for a wonderful day today with your family!

Steph T. said...

Merry Christmas Beth. Thank you for praying for my family this year as we said goodbye to Lori. I appreciate your sweet words & precious heart. Enjoy your day with those babies!!

Nancy M. said...

So much loss, my heart is heavy for these families. I don't know the pain they are going through, but am now praying for them!

Merry Christmas friend!

Deb said...

Beth, you inspire me to be more thankful and compassionate.

I will be praying for those who are hurting and grieving and struggling during this Christmas season.

Sweet dreams.

Thena said...

Just now catching up on some reading of blogs. Hope you and your family had a wonderfully blessed Christmas. You are so right about others grieving and suffering. It was sad walking the hall of the hospital over the weekend thinking of all the people there.
Even with everything going on with us, we are truly blessed. Will be posting more tomorrow on my blog but Linda (my MIL) will be getting out of the hospital Thursday.

Stacey Dawn said...

Praying for those who are grieving - as oh - so am I and I so relate....


Amen! We should never take God's blessings for granted.

Beth, I hope you and your family had a Wonderful Christmas celebration.

Happy New Year from Southern California. No snow here but a lot of flooding and record breaking rain! :-(

God Bless You, ~Ron :-)

Yolanda said...

My heart became heavy this week as I learned a young boy, I believe in our kindergarten, was just diagnosed with Leukemia. A friends Dad has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, both in the brain and in his lungs.

I think, Lord, when will this suffering end? And I heaven.

Continuing to SEEK Him,

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Same thoughts here....There are a lot of Christmas posts, but none as important as this one...

Happy New glad to have a few days to read blogs..