Only days ago, some people close to me lost their wife and mother. In her life, this woman collected things that say joy. Her last word was “heaven”. The family has not even had time to host her funeral yet.
Other close friends lost their husband and father a few short months ago. This is their first Christmas without him.
My husband’s identical twin brother went to sleep three Christmases ago and never woke up. We had his funeral at Christmas, with the beautiful decorations still hanging at the church.
My daughter in love‘s mother was killed in a auto accident at Thanksgiving some years back. Her mom and dad were preparing for their annual Thanksgiving pig roast, to which they invited much of the community. They were talking about preparations, riding together to work, when a Mack truck plowed into them. Every Thanksgiving, her daughters and her husband remember.
My own mother died on my wedding anniversary. We buried my sister on my 40th birthday.
Empty chairs on special days…
The woman who collected joy and died this Christmas slid into the mother role for me at times. Little things…she probably didn’t notice, but as a motherless child, I certainly did. I filed the memories away, treasuring them in my heart, and I never forgot. I am grateful.
In the Christmas season, we sing “Joy to the World”, and with good reason, for unto us was born this day, in city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. He would be called Emmanuel, which is God with us, and He would save His people from their sins. According to Linus, in A Charlie Brown Christmas, that’s what Christmas is all about.
My random scripture reading plan today assigned me to read John 19:17-27. These verses describe the crucifixion of Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate today. It reminded me that Jesus knew death, too. It was one of the reasons He was born.
For the family of the Joy Woman, I remembered the phrase “the joy of the Lord is our strength” this morning. So I looked that phrase up. And here is the verse that it comes from:
I think these words are appropriate today, even if we face empty chairs and sadness from looking at them.
For all of us who have empty chairs, I weep. And because Jesus was born and died, and because He lives again, and because I know Him, and because He paid a debt I couldn’t pay, and because He made a way for me back to Him, I also have unspeakable joy this Christmas season, and forever.
So I am praying for the brokenhearted today. And I wish them joy.