One year ago Christmas Eve my community suffered a horrible act of violence which resulted in two first responders’ deaths and more injured. This community will never be the same, but will be stronger.
Just over a week ago a sister church lost one of their pastors from complications during childbirth. That community and young family will never be the same, but will hopefully grow stronger through the terrible heartache.
Then late last night a dear friend from my teen years in youth group at church lost her mother after a long bout with hospital stays, so soon after my friend’s husband also hurt my friend so badly. I pray she will grow stronger after all this pain and loss she is feeling, but know it will take a long time.
Through all of this I can cling to the hope in a child’s birth so long ago. A birthday we celebrate every year after a bishop so long ago declared we could not let time go by without celebrating and recognizing this child who changed the world. The birth day of a child who was born in a stable, raised by parents just like us. A child who grew to change hearts, to make those who are weak strong.
I trust in Jesus Christ and I celebrate His birth every year. I know others who celebrate the day of Christmas, but I want deep in my heart, nothing more than to celebrate Jesus’ birth on this Christmas day. It is for this reason my heart wants to sing Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I pray this year that those who are hurting, who have fresh wounds they feel will not heal, that they will grow stronger through Him, and by Him because He was born. It will take time and it may not be strength in ways we can see, but strength to carry on minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, until one day they can celebrate, with some sadness, but also with great joy.
I celebrate Jesus’ birth today and pray for these and all who are hurting in their hearts. So my Merry Christmas comes with the hope that all will find the Merry in the reason for celebrating today.