Sadly, I know of three families who in the last week have lost loved ones. It somehow seems to be made worse by the time of year. But really, is there a better time of year to lose someone you love dearly?
I remember answering the phone to my father-in-law on a Christmas morning years ago. I immediately sensed something was wrong, but said nothing and handed the phone to my husband who joyfully wished his Dad a "happy Christmas" only to hear back "well it's not very happy for me, my Dad's just died." Awkward.
If you know the person had been very ill and suffered for a while, is it wrong to think and possibly even worse to say, that actually, it's probably for the best?
I definitely have found myself thinking that over the last few days, but then, it wasn't someone I was close to that left me.
If you know the family didn't necessarily have a faith and you have no idea what their loved one believed, there are almost no words on earth to say, because you fear the worst for their soul. You can't exactly offer "they've gone to a better place".
If you find yourself in a place of mourning at this time of year, I have nothing to say that will change how you feel or make it better.
But as we all know, if we are celebrating Christmas, we are celebrating the birth of The Saviour of the world, no matter what we are facing, what our circumstances are or how we are grieving, we can find hope in the birth that took place all those thousands of years ago. If it were not true, the story would have faded and grown old, but the birth of Jesus is faithfully re-told every year, it stands the test of time.
Matthew 1:21 (NIV) She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
I pray that you will truly find hope in the birth of that human baby conceived by God, who was born, and died, with the purpose to save every single one of us from our in-born sin. There is hope and there can be peace for you this Christmas.