A joy-filled woman lives like this life is not all there is.
Many people dread Christmas–any holiday–due to loss and grief and remembered joys, now gone. You may know someone in deep grief, or you may be that one.
“Bah, humbug” wins over “Merry, Merry!” every time, and you wish it were already January 5th.
Your holiday plans include a large knitted afghan pulled up to your chin, mounds of popcorn on your right, and a pile of mysteries at your left–with short breaks to walk your dog. Walking at night, of course, to keep well-meaning neighbors at bay: “Hey there-whaddaya doing for the holidays?” Maybe skip the walks altogether. The dog is happy in the backyard, you decide. The afghan is fine pulled up and over your head, you decide. Amazon can deliver dog food and more popcorn, you decide.
How do you cope? You remember this life is not all there is. And you pray.
In his book A Decembered Grief, Harold Smith offers this prayer:
“Lord, this season reminds me that whenever I am weak, You are strong. Is it all right if I grieve around You? I have to act strong everywhere else. I need a place just to be a griever, full of questions, full of tears at times, overwhelmed by absence.”
“…overwhelmed by absence.” That’s a tough one. Did God feel overwhelmed by absence when He hurled His Son into a manger? He had eternity past to contemplate that plan. Maybe under an afghan. He had thirty-three years to change that plan.
But He didn’t.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King.
Why joy? Why to this world, Lord? I don’t know. But, come You did.
A Baby King’s arrival is reason for joy, but not everyone gets it or cares or “receives” their King.
Someone said, “Joy is the underlying current in the river of life that even underlies grief.”
Even so, grieving comes first and last and in between. God doesn’t require jumping jacks of joy. The mud of grief makes an undercurrent tough to navigate. As Smith wrote: He doesn’t expect me to be strong. But He expects me to come.
A joy-filled woman knows where to go for help.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16
Mercy is there, by Him. A joy-filled woman knows where to go, and then goes.
We might think, “Oh, well, that’s really too bad. I’m glad I know true joy.”
Or, we might ask our King–a prayer for everyday, but especially at Christmas:
“Lord Jesus, I hurt, my friends hurt, the world’s in a basket of pain and woe. How do you want me to give Your joy to my world?”
Maybe your home, your arms are where someone need to be a griever. Hospitality at its best. There’s great joy in that. Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Open wide your arms. It’s what He did. May you be overwhelmed by His presence in His everlasting arms.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27
A joy-filled woman lives like this life is not all there is. A joy-filled woman knows where to go for help. And that’s why we can have joy midst the grief and pain.
Serving up Ten Facts of a Joy-Filled Woman all month long. Of course, they apply to mankind–you know who you are. Which one is your favorite? It’s a printable, of course, because YOU are my FAVORITE!
#holidaygrief #joy #Christmasjoy #trustinggod
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