Today would have been my daughter Bethany’s 35th Birthday.
Today is also the day that I will bring a small gift bag with a toy and gift card for another baby girl born on this date. It has become my husband’s and my tradition. I bring the gift bag to a nurse at a local maternity unit and ask her to give the bag to the first baby girl born on December 12. I briefly tell the nurse why and then when they have a look of compassion melt into their face, I thank them and leave before my tears begin to start.
It is our way of honoring Bethany’s memory every year.
But this year, the sadness seems deeper. It has been a year of more loss: The deaths of my Mom and a friend. And I lost a daughter-in-law to divorce.
It’s not that the year did not have many blessings and I am grateful for those. But during the holidays, losses seem enhanced. They make the cloudy days a bit darker and the Christmas lights less bright.
So in seasons of pain and sadness, is Jesus really all I need? Can He really be my comforter and my all in all?
The answer is “yes,” if I have faith and trust in HIS ways and not my own.
We were never promised comfort in this world, nor freedom from pain and heartache. It does not take more than a few moments of watching news to reveal this sad fact. But I know one way to pull out of my own self-wallowing is to focus on others needs. To pray for others like Pastor Saeed who is imprisoned in Iran for his faith in Jesus. To pray for a friend who’s husband died suddenly this year. To pray for a homeless person on the street.
And to pray that God would show me how to make a difference in others lives in some tangible way—to be a blessing to them in their need.
When I bring the gift in Bethany’s honor to the maternity ward, I always pray that the gift card will go to someone who truly needs it. I pray it will bless them.
And I pray that, if you are experiencing loss in this Christmas season, you will keep focused on what is truly important: Sharing Jesus’ love with others.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter: 1:6-9 NIV