This final devotion was written one year ago today, reflecting on how the joys of Christmas often collide with the sorrows of this world.
“This will be a year of firsts.” I’ve heard that a lot since my grandmother passed away this past October. And so it has been. Thanksgiving was hard, but tonight will be even harder because our family will gather at Mammie’s house, but Mammie will not be there.
I was thinking through my sermon outline Sunday when my phone vibrated as I pulled into the Church parking lot. The text said a family in our church had just lost their newborn baby, who had been born premature a few weeks earlier. Tomorrow before opening presents at my in-laws house, I will preach a funeral, my wife’s grandad’s funeral.
And today is the day everyone says “Merry Christmas” and sings “Joy to the World”. And today I will join those voices and sing those choruses. Because today is a merry day, not just because a baby once laid in a manger, but because that same God/man doesn’t still lay in a grave.
“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6).
So today I will rejoice. Because though my heart aches in the absence of my own grandmother, my wife’s grandad, and the parents who have no baby to hold this Christmas; I have hope.
I have hope because Christmas turned into Easter that first Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead, which was the first fruits of the resurrection to come. And in that resurrection, I will rejoice again, with Mammie, Papaw Bud, and two parents reunited with their son.