Wednesday, December 21, 2016

LOSS

LOSS – I am struck that Christmas, to many people, is underscored by an intense sense of loss.

More people than you can imagine are emotionally distraught during the holidays, because the festivities remind them that someone is missing. They realize that this is the first Christmas without their loved one. Or the anniversary of the loss of a spouse, or a parent or a child.

Christmas joy and celebration in the lives of others, emphasized by the music in the restaurants and stores and malls, by the decorations, by the wall-to-wall commercials and TV and movie specials, by the church programs and carols and sermons, is the turn of the knife in the wound for many.

Kudos to those who have this immense sense of loss during the holiday season, yet smile through the tears. They give to others, even though something was taken from them. They say “Merry Christmas” though their heart says “Bah Humbug!”

It is my guess that, for those over the age of 40, at least 80% of people can strongly relate to this malady. (I made that statistic up, but I challenge you to disprove it.) Christmas season holds a certain amount of sadness for them because of loss.

I know, I can relate. I am not a fan of Christmas. Out of duty to the church and a sense of responsibility to my family and my people, I promote the programs, deck the halls, dawn the gay apparel, preach the advent messages, sing the carols, exchange the gifts, and….accept a Christmas bonus.J  I do it with a somewhat genuine smile, and really, really try to mean it.

But something worth everything was taken from me at Christmas time almost three decades ago. The apple of my eye has never truly been returned to me. My pearl was cast to the swine and trampled underfoot. I have never recovered. I just function. Sometimes at a surprisingly high level, to my dismay.  I suffered loss as much as most anyone I know. Christmas is a Bowie knife sized dagger in my tender section.

But, you know what I found out a long time ago? God’s got this!!! Though He has no obligation to any of us, He will never be a debtor to any person. 

You see, the world had lost its way. God had lost His creation. It was stolen by a slithering serpent, whispering sadistic lies, impugning His sterling character. 

All of His children were lost. They were lost to lust, lost to lasciviousness, lost to lies and lying.

So, for the very first Christmas, 2000 years ago (but planned many millennia prior) God turned Christmas into a time of gain – to more than offset the loss.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Here it is, my holiday challenged friend. For your loss, God has given you:

*His Son! I lost my son 27 years ago at Christmas. But God gave me His own…at Christmas.

*Everlasting life! I effectively lost my life, that is, my living, my ministry. He gave true, abundant, eternal life, by virtue of a virgin born Son.

*Grace!!! What we all need, to overcome all loss, is grace. Abounding grace. Sustaining grace. Manifold grace. True grace. It is grace that carries us through what we cannot do…things like Christmastime.


Here’s what the apostle John (1:14) says in this fantastic Christmas verse: “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.”

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