That’s what they say about this time of year from Thanksgiving to January 1st.Although I’d like to share with you that just because it titled “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year “ it doesn’t mean it is. Actually for more people than we will know it is the most depressing time of the year. Life doesn’t stop with bad news, tragedy or loss of any kind when the calendar turns to this time of the year. Quite the contrary, the bad news comes, tragedy hits and loss happens. For some loss has already happened and this time of the year makes it harder to bear. For those in mourning it doesn’t turn into laughter and joy just because the song is being sung. The loss of a loved one is a very real and traumatic thing that happens to us all. Whether it’s expected or unexpected it’s all trauma and it hurts. So what does one do during such a time as this when there is no joy? First of all it’s OK to cry. There is healing in tears and second don’t deny the pain and heartache you feel, for in denial one tends to withdraw within themselves. When this happens it’s much harder for one to reach out for the comfort that is so desperately needed. Lets reflect on a story in the scriptures that is a very good example. In John 11:17-45. This is the story of Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus died. They both were very troubled and mourning his death when Jesus came back into town. In the story Jesus called forth Lazarus from the dead but that is not the part I want to talk about. It’s that place that yes they questioned where Jesus was and why he wasn’t there when their brother was dying but it’s also the part of the scripture that tells us how they in their loss and heartache allowed Jesus into that place to comfort them and help them. It’s that place that we so often close off to God and to others when we are hurting so bad that we can only see the darkness. Mourning the loss of a loved one is inevitable, we are humans living in a fallen world. It’s a part of being human, not the best part but most definitely a part. Before Jesus ascended to the Father he told us he would send us a comforter. Jesus himself said I will give you peace that passes all understanding. Jesus himself is peace. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. How then does the trauma of loss and bad news bring us such despair and rob us of life and peace, and keep us form being comforted?
Another example I would like to point out is when Jesus was on the cross and at that moment the he bore all of our sins on himself and the Father looked away because in him there is no sin. Jesus cried out in agony to the Father saying “My God My God why have you forsaken me?” It was the sin that separated Jesus from the Father and that brought the most agonizing reality to our savior because the presence of the Father wasn’t with him. Jesus died to reconcile us to the Father and nothing will stand in the way of that relationship unless we let it. We are loved with a perfect love and we are given the keys to the kingdom. We shouldn’t be moved away from that gift, that reality and that relationship by what happens here. Yes it hurts beyond words and yes it feels like the life has been sucked out of us. But it hasn’t if we don’t let it. Just like Mary and Martha, they took their sorrow, heartache and loss to Jesus. They still had questions but they allowed him into that place in their hearts. For me the holidays have brought great sorrow. My brother had big plans to join us on Thanksgiving after being away for several years in the service, and as the day grew closer and the excitement was mounting we lost him to a drunk driver in another state. During the holidays that was the most festive time for my mother. Her body could not fight the cancer and the battle was lost on new years day, and for my youngest sister of forty who was a widow and the mother of four young children, her battle to cancer was lost on January 29th. The lights still shine and the music still plays “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” and it doesn’t stop the loss and the heartache. But with my heart open to the one who is peace and the comforter whom Jesus sent to me. I’m one with the Father and yes it still hurts and yes I miss my family but my joy is complete and my life is full. I’ve been given the keys to the kingdom and lights are bright and the songs are being sung, because I’ve chosen life. Life here in the now and life eternal. For those who are mourning loss of any kind, its ok to cry, it’s ok to mourn and it’s ok to ask a question but take all of that to the one who came to give us life more abundant here and eternally. Be honest with yourself and with God so in that confession there is no denial and your heart opens up to the life giver. No matter what time of the year it is, it can be the most wonderful time if we allow ourselves life to overcome the loss. Blessings to you in whatever time of the year you are in and may you allow the giver of life into your life.
Today is a beautiful day. The neighborhood is quiet this morning even with the kids being out of school. The breeze is just right and the sun is bright and warm with no clouds to block her rays. I purposely leave the TV off in the mornings so I have that quiet time with just Jesus and me. All seems quite well in my little world today. All is well with my soul. Although, all is not well in the world around. The spirit of lawlessness has been released in our world and with it has birthed many children. The open hate and violence, the open demonstration of rejecting the values of family as well as the values of this nation that is was formed on. The blatant disrespect of elders, teachers, and those who have been put in authority on all levels in the home and in the country. The freedom that has been fought for and that has shed much blood, with it has given a freedom to individuals and this nation that has love, respect, independence, choice, safety, peace and yes a sense of well being. But the bloodshed that is happening now is giving individuals and this nation all the opposite. There is no love, respect, independence, choice, safety, and sense of well being in this state of lawlessness. I am watching lawlessness being addressed and apprehended and it is getting angrier and more full of hate. Its fight for no borders and territory is more aggressive and violent now more than ever before. I’m so very thankful for that what is raging on the outside is not raging on the inside of me. Galatians 1:3,4 says that “ The Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver is out of this present evil age.” And Galatians 5:1 says “ It was for freedom that Christ set us free”. Lawlessness knows no freedom; although it fights for a freedom it is actually bondage. A bondage in this life and in the next. Stand firm on the sure foundation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all will be well with your soul no matter what is going on in your world.
As I was reading the last chapter of Luke this morning and before I got past the first paragraph I was marveling at how everything in the scripture has meaning and how at that moment I realized I understood so little and so much seemed to be hidden. I was thinking about a scratch off ticket, not necessarily a lottery ticket. I was thinking about the hidden treasure or message that was under the scratch off substance and how until it’s removed you have no clue. I then thought about the scriptures that all the mysteries and hidden treasures in them and how it would take the Lord to open my eyes and reveal to me the mysteries and meaning in his word. As I kept reading the very thoughts I had just been thinking came to life. After the resurrection two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:15 when Jesus came right up beside them and began to walk with them. Their eyes weren’t opened at that moment to recognize him and it wasn’t until they were breaking bread with Jesus later that day when their eyes were open to see that it was Jesus with them. As soon as their eyes were opened Jesus left them. After eating they traveled back to Jerusalem and told their story to the others. Luke 24:35 says “ He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.” We know that Jesus is our bread of life and his word is Jesus. Today we know that it’s the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see Jesus and leads us into all truth. He also teaches us along the way and reveals the hidden treasures of God as we read the scriptures and seek him. So that we can see Jesus no matter where we are and what is going on in our lives. Ah I love it when a good mystery is revealed. And that’s living life!
Road trips are a favorite of mine. On a road trip I actually get to see more of Gods beautiful creation and meet more of his lovely people. I just took a 2000 mile road trip from Indiana to Kansas. My husband travels at times for his work and he had seven housing communities to deliver different things to. Fortunately my job is somewhat flexible and I was able to take the time off. The interesting thing about it is we calculated three days and it took us four days. Of course on the fourth day I was scheduled to work a closing shift. So I got home from our trip and twenty minutes later I was at work. The good part about that is I went from sitting and riding to walking and standing on my feet for the next several hours, which actually was very good for me. So back to our trip, we had beautiful weather, the farther west we got the warmer it got and the sun was shining almost all the way. That may not seem like much but coming from Indiana we have had very little sunshine this winter. I’m not normally affected by the lack of sunshine but this winter has proved that wrong. I think we had a seventeen day stretch of no sunshine and by day ten I was feeling it. So closing my eyes while riding with the sun beating down on me was glorious. Since we are in a company means of transportation I am not allowed to drive, so I’m the one who gets the cold drink, changes the radio and read. Yes I love to read and I’m able to read while riding which I understand many are not. I finished reading the last book in a twenty- three book series. It was great to have that time. My husband even asked me about the book. The look on his face was priceless as I tried hard to catch him up through all twenty- three books. The short versions of course. My husband and I do travel well together, so stopping at necessary times and stretching was no problem. We enjoyed the sites we did get to see and just enjoyed the change of scenery. The only sad part is that we couldn’t keep driving and make it a vacation. We are back to the daily routine of work and no play and anxiously awaiting spring to come. I’m ready to plant a few flowers and veggies, maybe even swing a golf club a few times. Hopefully there will be another road trip in the making and maybe the next one will be an actual vacation.