The Christmas season is upon us, a time when we are inundated with events to attend, presents to buy, dinners to host, and traditions to be preformed. While December is a joyous time for most and certainly my favorite time of the year, it also can be a time where the loss of a loved one can be felt more deeply. A couple of months ago I lost my father to a heart attack, it was sudden and unexpected. What was also unexpected is how different the holidays would feel without his presence. Many in our homeschool community may be feeling the emptiness that comes with missing a loved one during the holidays. So how does the Christian cope with such loss during the Christmas Season?
Think about the apostle Paul, what kept him going even when things seemed the darkest. Here was a man who had everything and immediately when he began following Christ, his whole world fell apart. He was run out of towns, beaten with rods, pelted with stones, shipwrecked, and imprisoned! (For a list of his hardships check out 2nd Corinthians 11:25-30). Yet, enduring all of this he still presses on, he still makes it through, but how? It’s all about focus, Paul gives us insight into his mindset in his letter to the Philippians. In Philippians 4:8 he says "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Rather than focusing on the chains that bind him, the bruises and broken bones that riddle his body, instead of what was missing in his life he chooses to focus on the good. For me this Christmas season comes down to a choice, do I choose to focus on what is missing or what is there. I have to choose to focus on the good, the pure, the noble, the right, the lovely, not the darkness, the emptiness, or the loneliness that comes with the loss of a loved one. The Christmas story is replete with things that should have caused sorrow for Mary and Joseph: the difficulty explaining immaculate conception to your husband to be, a long journey in the final days of pregnancy, a cold stable to deliver your child, no family to witness this birth except for some smelly shepherds. Maybe your Christmas doesn’t feel like it should, maybe you are experiencing trepidation about the coming holidays being spent in less than ideal circumstances. If you, like Paul, keep your focus on the good, the light, then the darkness will not overcome you. So this Christmas for those who have experienced a recent and significant loss, I encourage you to listen to the words of Paul and focus on all that’s good.
Pastor Eric Maggio M.Div.
HCS Board of Directors