Dedicating this to all those who are missing loved ones this year!
May seem like an odd theme at Christmas time to consider birth as well as death, but it is at this time of year we remember ….. We remember Christmas’s past, loved ones and times that have come before. What is your best Christmas memory? Many times we go back to our childhood for the answer. Childhood, for many, is a season of life that is more innocent and less cluttered. This is a season of life when we are taken care of by parents and grandparents and free to enjoy every aspect of the Holiday. The scene of Christmas is just to enjoy without a care while we anticipate the surprise of a gift! Our heavenly Father wants nothing less for His children on earth at Christmas!
Bookends: Easter at Christmas
I never knew my grandparents as they died before I was born. My mom and dad are now in heaven too. They died 8 months apart from each other. My dad passed in the Easter season and my mom just after Christmas in December. So the bookends of both these seasons have been etched into the fabric of who I am and who God is! Emmanuel…God with Us.
Jesus is the Everlasting Gift
Jesus was born as a gift to all mankind to usher in peace and joy for all eternity. To complete His purpose He died on a cross. The only way for a Holy God to make peace with His creation of man who sin, was the required sacrifice of the perfect Lamb, who is Jesus. Jesus blood was shed so that when His children commit sin, the repentant heart and soul were able to be renewed, restored and put back to a place of peace again. Without the blood there is no remission of sin. So Jesus came as a baby born to make men new. (Col 3:10) He was born to die so all might live for eternity. Now that is a gift that keeps on giving! Thank You Jesus!
FIERCE STORM…TREE DOWN!
The week before my mom went to be with Jesus we had a fierce wind storm. There was a huge cedar tree that fell one night and crashed through our fence in the backyard. It laid itself down alongside our deck breaking nothing but the fenced border on our property line. It could have
caused great loss to life, limb and house but instead, it laid down safely positioned on the ground between our landscaped area in front of the fence and the deck. I was so thankful and in awe wondering if God was trying to say something to me in that whole episode besides the great thankfulness for keeping me and my family safe in the midst of the storm!
The Sudden Stroke!
My dad had passed in April during the Easter season and my mom had been caring for him while dealing with some afflictions of her own with a few hospital stays but all in all, doing well. So later that week, in December, I received a call from the nursing home where she was convalescing after one of her hospital visits. In fact I was picking up the phone (when it rang) to get her placed in another home because she was much to well to be at a nursing home. They informed me that my mom had had a massive stroke and was unable to talk or swallow, this news came suddenly and unexpected. She did not have long before she would see Jesus.
I remember after the phone call and while I sat next to my mom’s bed that week, I kept thinking about that large tree. I believe the tree is what God refers to us as trees of righteousness.
….That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
The tree of righteousness that represented my mom in my backyard was peacefully laid to rest, yet suddenly.
THE TOMB IS EMPTY!
The April before my mom died, we had to identify my dad’s body for the funeral home so they could perform their work. My mom didn’t want to do it and so I volunteered. When I came out of the viewing room I had a smile on my face and a spring in my step and I remember my mom saying, “What happened in there?” I said, “That tomb is empty! That was dad’s vessel on earth but his spirit is gone and alive with Jesus!” She promptly paraded herself into that room to see for herself. She came out laughing as well! It is done! He has made it safely home! It was such great peace and joy to see the empty tomb! That which we didn’t want to see became our peace and joy. The Word of God says to be absent on earth is to be present with Christ and so the proof and truth of that word played out so profoundly in their passing’s deep in my heart, mind, soul and spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not y sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
From death comes life and promise!
That tree in my backyard laid down suddenly in the storm. But it was perfectly positioned in peace and so was my mom that December day…. which just happened to be my birthday! My mom had given me birth on that day and death brought her new place to dwell with Jesus! My mom went safely home to be with all her friends and family who had gone before her in faith and trust in the Jesus. I believe she birthed something else for me on that day. Just what this gift might be is unknown to me, but I believe it by faith…thus it remains unopened to be unwrapped another day and season.
With God, birth and death on earth only give way to more life in heavenly ways we on earth can’t know or even comprehend.
John 14:2-3 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
The place where that tree once stood is now like the empty tomb and it has left a hole in the forest as it leaves an empty place at our Christmas table for my mom and dad. The space in the greenbelt now causes the sunlight to shine through where it was once dense and dark. The tomb is empty and the spirit of my parents is full of the light of Jesus and in His Presence forever. That hole in the greenbelt is a constant reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, His ready protection, His perfection to work all things together for our good and for His glory! (Romans 8:28) There is no better position for the spirit, body, mind or soul than to be at peace in Christ Jesus.
I remember my husband’s mother also getting out of the hospital just in time for Christmas. She had been in and out of the hospital more times than I could count the year before she passed. She LOVED Christmas! That Christmas she was like her old self. She was full of life and fully engaged with our family. But after Christmas, she faded quickly and that ended up being our last Christmas celebration on earth with her. The spirit of the Christ and the Christmas Season is powerful, real and miraculous! It causes us to remember that God is our safe place and position in life and in death.
So as I look at Christmas, whether it is birth or death, Jesus came to do both just as we do. It’s not till someone dies that we gain an inheritance and Jesus is our inheritance. He died so that we could have life abundantly (John 10:10) and forever in peace and joy. As I look into the manger I see a glorious divinely appointed baby. An infant both God and man who was completely dependent on his mother and father yet fully able and willing to deliver them both! To deliver them from all evil and sin, He would die so that new life could begin again. The gift of life is present even in death for those in faith and belief that Jesus died for their sin! That tomb of death is empty for the believer. There is nothing really but life forevermore.
Happy Birthday Jesus!
That is the gift of Christmas…It is Jesus birth, death and resurrection for all mankind. A gift of light, life, victory over death! It is a gift of pure love! This is a gift Christians celebrate all life- long Thank You Jesus and Happy Birthday!