Christmas Comfort

christmas-wreathGrief With Hope

A Ministry to and with the Grieving

by James Alexander, December 1998

 

The angels broke through from the realms of heaven’s glory and proclaimed a message that would bring salvation to many. That message announced to the world that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would through His life, death, and resurrection become the Savior of God’s people. There is no Christmas message other than this message that the love of God has been demonstrated in the gift of His Son for men. The joy, the comfort, and hope of Christmas flow from this One who was born of the virgin Mary.

Yet for many, Christmas does not bring joy. Perhaps, darkness even now surrounds you as you think of the coming Christmas season. The bright lights, the jubilant excitement, the bustling activities, and the energetic songs of the season seem to deepen and thicken the dark blanket of sadness that seeks to smother you. Your beloved one has been taken; the season of family and friends now brings only loneliness and painful memories that refuse to leave you. What comfort and hope can you find during this season?

Remember…

Remember that this baby called Jesus is the only hope for eternal life. In a world of cruelty, heartache, and suffering, there is one who guarantees that these griefs will one day cease and that all the present evils will end. You do not need a Christmas tree or a Santa Claus. What they offer is only temporary. What Christ brings is eternal and lasting.

Remember that Christmas has little to do with the pressured movements of people trying to create joy and excitement through superficial and often sinful means. During this season remember God’s compassion upon a suffering dying humanity. The overflowing love of God has been revealed in Jesus Christ. This compassion is not an impersonal act, but God has out of his mercy offered to you His Son that in Him you might know joy and happiness. Let your grief and sadness open the door to eternal joy and comfort in Christ.

Remember that you still have some family and friends to love during this season. God has not taken everyone out of this world. Resist the temptation to ignore those still with you. The one loved may be gone, but let the grief remind you that these others who are yet in this world are gifts from God. Show to them your love. Even go shopping to buy them a gift to say how much you delight in them.

Remember the people of God. Here are your eternal brothers and sisters. They will love you, and you can love them. In fact, many of your brothers and sisters are suffering today. There is much you can give to relieve their misery. Do not let your grief turn you into a selfish, bitter person. Make a cake or write a letter to one who suffers. Do not waste all your misery on yourself, but instead use it to empower you to reach out to those in misery.

Remember those who have suffered grief during the past year. You know what their pain is. You know first-hand the intensity and agony that death brings. Have mercy on the grieving. Go to them. Pray with them. Read the Bible to them. Talk with them about their loved one. That will help them get through this season that is so painful for the grieving.

Remember to worship God. Worship brings us into the very presence of God. In God’s presence there is no suffering and sadness. All is joyful in His presence. Join the heavenly angels as they praise God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Scripture for Meditation: Isaiah 9:6, 7

Being Dead They Still Speak

“The celestial city is full in my view. Its glories beam upon me, its breezes fan me, its odours are wafted to me, its sounds strike upon my ears, and its spirit is breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the river of Death, which now appears but as an insignificant rill, that may be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give permission. The Sun of Righteousness has been gradually drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as he approached, and now he fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth a flood of glory, in which I seem to float like an insect in the beams of the sun; exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on this excessive brightness, and wondering with unutterable wonder, why God should deign thus to shine upon a sinful worm. A single heart, and a single tongue, seem altogether inadequate to my wants. I want a whole heart for every separate emotion, and a whole tongue to express that emotion.

– Life of Payson

“Death is only a grim porter to let us into a stately palace.”

– Richard Sibbes

 

– In memory of Matthew James Alexander by his father, James Julian Alexander

Grief with Hope is a ministry established by James Alexander in memory of his son Matthew James Alexander, who died in the crash of TWA Flight #800, July 1996. Grief with Hope ministers to and with the grieving through the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship.

 

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I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Christmas_Bells
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The heart-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
“The Wrong shall fail,
“The Right prevail,
“With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863