How to celebrate when it hurts?

I don’t know the answer, I just see the difficulty for so many right now.  Somehow I have not been as sensitive to this in past years as I am this year. I know of many people who are celebrating their first Christmases without loved ones.  A husband, wife, grandparent, daughter, son, or friend have passed away this year.  Christmas is a time full of memories and traditions for most of us. We remember Christmas how it used to be and try to imitate the best of those memories. But that is hard to do when our loved one isn’t around.

That first holiday alone is hard for the widows. Who will they have their morning coffee with this year? Why even cook a special meal?  The widowers didn’t even take time to pull out the decorations because their loved ones aren’t around to care.  Or the grandma in the nursing home how is very forgetful, somehow knows that her kids didn’t take time this year to visit and she tries hard to hold her head high.

We must celebrate at Christmas because it isn’t about us or traditions, it’s about our Saviour being born in fulfillment of God’s plan made so long ago. He set in motion this segment of His great design so that Christ would humble himself and come to live as a man for 33 year so that he might die to save you and I.

We must celebrate Jesus’ birthday, yet many will mourn and remember their loved ones. Those who died in Christ will be mourned in a hopeful way and that should bring comfort.  But wounds of love take time to heal and we must allow the tears of healing to flow and the memories to wash over us as treasures from the past.

Thus as we celebrate our Saviour, we must be sensitive to many in pain.

Disappointment

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Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.      Philippians 4:1
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?                        
1 Thessalonians 2:19

These verses depict what anyone in ministry feels.  It is joy when our students obey the Lord, when they get into ministry, when they bear fruit. 

On the other hand, when someone into whom you have invested time falls into sin, that is sad, disappointing, frustrating, angering.  For years they have sat under our teaching, they know what is acceptable and what is not.  And yet you hear news that shows that they were not obeying.  AIDS, Teen pregnancy, divorce, spousal abuse, polygamy, theft, lying, jealousy, corruption, discord, fighting, swearing, etc…  Many of these sins have consequences for the rest of one’s life. 

I’m stuck asking, “Why?”  Did I not do my job?  And then I wonder how my Lord feels.  How I must break His heart over and over and over again.  It’s the whole log in my eye and speck in my neighbor’s eye issue once again. 

Yet, when this little baby is born and forces a couple to get married because of their sin, why do I struggle to celebrate with them?  When someone who is quite promiscuous is now dying of AIDS, do I comfort them?  When someone wants to stay in my home who has a reputation for theft, can I welcome them?  I think it would be easier if they would confess and show signs of repentance, but when they do not? 

In a society that is newly Christian, they find joy in these things and they comfort the sinner.  Why am I so judgmental?  How do I find the motivation to keep teaching when so many of these young Christians fall into sin.  We think the situation in Corinth was bad, but what I see here seems so much worse. 

God help us.