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Finding Hope When the Holidays are Hard
Holidays can be so difficult for grieving families. Festive cheer surrounds us, yet for those grieving such devastating loss, it can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness. Grieving families may not feel like celebrating, and others may or may not understand. The absence of our babies looms heavily over us, and we can hardly find reason to be joyful at a time that causes such deep pain.
A mother from our Dallas Support Group sent me an email recently in which she referenced Luke 2:19 from the Bible: "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." It's right in the midst of the Christmas story- Mary is holding her newborn son in a humble stable, a mass of angels breaks through heaven to sing of the King who has come to save the world, and after shepherds witness the miracle themselves, they begin a mass communication effort to get the word out that God had come- as a helpless, human baby- to earth. Amid all the fanfare from the angels and excitement from the shepherds, Mary simply sits- and ponders.
Mary was an ordinary girl, an ordinary mommy. Yet she was chosen to birth and raise the Son of God. Did she know what being the mother of Jesus would entail? Did she know the heartbreak she would feel as she later watched her son brutally beaten and hung on a cross to die? Mark Lowry wrote a song entitled, "Mary Did You Know," and I wonder if these are some of the things Mary pondered and "treasured up in her heart" as she rocked her newborn son: "Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? ....This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you."
Mary experienced the intense pain of losing her son, just like the rest of us who have suffered the death of a child. The difference is that her son died so that we, and our babies, might have life. That brings incredible hope for those of us who have been stripped of precious dreams and left with empty arms.
I pray that you might see, albeit possibly through tears this season, the hope that we have because of this baby who was born to another mother who would deeply grieve his early death. Death is not the end, because Jesus was born and died- so that we might be with our Savior- and our babies- for eternity one day.