December always brings its own set of lists, activities, family gatherings, and stress. Each family is different. Each celebration is different. Each year is different.
This December 25 was so different, one we will remember.
While we treasure the season and the reason for it, which is Jesus, we often put all the stuff of Christmas away with a sigh and a relief. It is over for another eleven months or so. Life will go back to normal. Whatever that is.
But not this year. Not for my family members who suffered great loss. There is no normal today. This is new ground. They have never walked this way before.
Others have walked this journey. Others have experienced a similar loss. And it is only in the suffering that we learn to comfort one another. It is only when my own heart has been broken that I have been able to weep with, grieve with, and hope with another.
My own experiences of anguish and adversity have made me tender toward another in comparable circumstances. I tear up easily as we share the intensity of pain and suffering. I understand the words and the feelings another shares with me. I’ve been there. I know.
And so we comfort as we have been comforted. It is God’s way. It is one of the ways He brings light from darkness, joy from sorrow.
It is the blessing of Christmas, a Savior who came in infant form, had a rough and tumble boyhood and grew to become a man. So human He came, though fully godlike in character. He experienced life yet overcame its pitfalls and temptations. He laughed and cried, loved and was loved in return, gave His heart and had it rejected. He was hungry and thirsty. He was tossed on stormy seas and was so tired that He slept hard through it.
He saw life as we see it yet He saw it through the eyes of One so much different, so much greater.
He had compassion on us. And so He offers compassion to us. He runs to our cry, our cries of heartache and heartbreak. He understands our feelings. He’s been there. He knows.
We comfort as we have been comforted by a Great High Priest who lived and died but came back to tell the story.
I can tell the story, His story. It is a story of a hope beyond all hope, a joy when tears fall, a love that will not let us go, a peace that cannot be explained when the ground shakes underneath us.
Comfort one another with these words.
It is Jesus. There is no other. He runs to our cry and we run to His arms.