Scripture is clear that grieving is acceptable, even anticipated. When a love one dies, their presence is missed. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, "To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die...A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn..."
Even so, the apostle Paul wrote words of comfort in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died." (paraphrased)
If you are one who has experienced the death of a loved one within the last year:
- Take comfort in what has happened. If your loved one died in Christ, the precise moment they closed their eyes in death, they awoke in the presence of Jesus. Paul informed the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5:8, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Although the body that housed your loved one's soul in this world has been buried, his or her soul is now with God and very much alive!
- Take comfort in what is happening. If your loved one died in Christ, he or she is experiencing eternal bliss in the presence of Jesus, the angels and all of the saints who have passed from this life. In God's presence, they are experiencing no weeping, no hurt, no pain, no suffering, no sorrow, no disease, no sickness and no night. Instead, your loved one is filled with joy, worshipping, laughing, dancing, praising and shouting "Holy, Holy, Holy" before the throne of God.
- Take comfort in what is going to happen. If your loved one died in Christ, one day, he or she will return in the clouds of teh sky with our Lord, receive his or her glorified body and rise from the grave. Those of us who are alive at the time of Christ's return will join them in the air, and forever, we shall be with the Lord!
- Those of you who have experienced the death of a loved one in the past year should go ahead and celebrate Christmas. Because Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem and died on the cross, the sins of the believer are forgiven. Because Christ rose from the grave, eternal life is sure for ther one who places his or her faith in the Lord.
Thankfully, we do not have to bear such a burden alone as Christ has instructed us to bring our burdens to Him. He is more than able to lift your burdens and give you peace. Then, when you arrive in Heaven someday, He promises to wipe away every tear from your eyes. At that moment, you will never again experience grief.
No matter what loss you have experienced in the past year, remember there is reason to celebrate Christmas. Knowing that God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that if you would believe in Him, you would not perish but have everlasting life, is reason enough to celebrate. Burdens are lifted at Calvary. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. Jesus doeth all things well!