Christmas is a special time with an aura of joy, giving, family, love, gratitude, and faith spilling over. It’s also a time when tears can spill over, mingling that joy with sorrow. Tears aren’t always bad, they can be a healthy acceptance of the Scriptural truth that suffering and joy walk hand in hand in life.
I first experienced Christmas sorrow as a young girl when I found my Mom crying quietly in a corner. Enthralled with the treats, lights, decoration, and PRESENTS, I couldn’t imagine any reason to cry during the whole month of December. Our Christmases were magical, with Mom and Dad’s wonderful fingers baking, crafting, decorating, shopping, and wrapping.
She simply explained that she missed her parents. Her Dad was aging quickly, arthritis and years of working outdoor construction in North Dakota had changed her strapping, strong father, into a frail man tucked inside a woolen blanket.
I’ve always been thankful she shared that with me, because I carried that understanding with me the rest of my life. Years later, I was sitting in my kitchen alone, listening to the bustle of my lively bunch of kids, but quietly crying because I missed my parents and my siblings. I fully understood my Mom’s heart.
Christmas tears come for a variety of reasons.
We cry for those that have passed on and will never again celebrate with us.
We cry for those that live too far away to join us.
We cry when present fiery trials keep us from totally rejoicing in the festivities.
The pain can be so deep we may not even want to celebrate the holiday. As believers, we have to cling to this reality – we really aren’t celebrating a holiday, we are celebrating a PERSON. Our Savior, Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
He is DAILY our Immanuel. He is DAILY our Savior. He is daily our Ever-present Help, our Shield, Defender, Fortress, Rock, Redeemer, Good Shepherd…His Names are as infinite as His love, grace, and mercy.
If you are celebrating this holiday season with tears, let them be tears of faith and surrender to the One who is longing to work out everything in your life for good. Romans 8:28 is not a pat answer, it is a solid promise.
This Christmas, I will shed a few tears for our adventurous son, Daniel, on a mission visit in Bolivia, who, manlike, won’t be shedding any tears for me, and because of lack of available technology, probably won’t be in touch.
I’ve already shed a few tears for child #7 lost to miscarriage four years, who would have been tearing into packages, eating too many cookies, and sitting on everyone’s lap.
And, this year I will shed a few tears for married daughter, Jana, and her two little ones recently moved to California and celebrating their first Christmas without us.
I wonder, as she begins her own family’s Christmas traditions, if Christmas tears will be a part of her holidays.
2014 Christmas Tears Update:
This year I added the image above made from a picture of an ornament on my Uncle Huck’s Christmas tree last year, when he was trying to celebrate his first Christmas without his beautiful bride of over 50 years, Aunt Jan, and his mother-in-law, my Gramma Florence. Gramma was a crafter and I remember her showing me how to make these adorable felt ornaments as a child.
Two of our children will be celebrating with their families states away, the Innocent Man will be in a stark prison cell, and my parents will be basking in the sun in Arizona. A few tears will mingle in our joyous celebration.