Everyone has grief. Some have grief over a longer span of time than others. Sometimes grief lasts only a short while. Grief can be more intense at holiday times than any other time of the year. We have memories of holidays past and the sharing of happy times with loved ones. We grieve because we have lost people and good times. We grieve because we know that at some point in future we, too, must die
Grief is a feeling of loss. We have lost part of ourselves, we have lost something or someone that we identify with personally. A child grieves over a broken or lost toy. People grieve over a lost job. Perhaps the deepest grieve is losing someone through death that you dearly love, especially if it is our child. “But,” you might say, “I am a Christian and Christians are not supposed to grieve.” There are those who are teaching this, so let’s think a bit about it.
In John 11 we read the story about the death of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha. It is recorded in the shortest verse of the Bible that Jesus wept [v. 35]. Jesus was weeping publicly because he had lost a friend. He was weeping with empathy for the pain and sadness of Mary and Martha. Jesus’ tears were not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. Jesus’ tears were natural and normal under the circumstances. He was showing us that grief is Christian.
In Isaiah 53 there is a poem about a suffering servant. Christians read this as referring to the coming Messiah, Jesus. In the King James Version of the Old Testament he is scribed as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” [Isaiah 53:3b]. This man Jesus lived to show us how to live as children of God.
In Colossians 1:15 Paul wrote: “He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” The divine Son of the Father knew grief as God knows grief. You do not lack faith because you grieve. We can do no better than to follow the example of our Savior and grieve, for we have the hope of eternal life.
If you are grieving this Christmas because someone you love has gone on to be with the Lord, it’s OK. It’s normal. It’s Christian. Let God help you use your grief to grow spiritually and socially.
In your grief, may God restore to you the peace and joy you have had, and strengthen your faith in the One who wept over a friend’s death.