Joy to the World

Written by: Gena Christofferson

Do you struggle to show, share or be joyous this time of year?

November is a rough month for me. Most years it sneaks up on me and I start to blame the changing seasons for my off mood. Then I will receive an email reminding me to say Happy Birthday to my Aunt Patty. Aunt Patty passed away several years ago. Then there are the Facebook posts wish my Grandpa Don Happy Birthday in Heaven. He passed away in 2011. Not long after that we will see someone remember my Grandpa Jack who passed away in November a few years ago. Most of you would think November 20 would be the worst day for me. For those of you that do not know, November 20, 1993 was the day that my 2nd born child, Kylie Jo passed away.

I don’t talk about Kylie often- it’s awkward. People don’t know how to react to the idea of losing a child. And people REALLY don’t know how to react to me because I don’t suppose I react like the typical parent of a child who has died. Typical is not even a proper word because although we all share something in common – it affects each of us in a different way. Grief is about as unpredictable as life is.

I know many people who are deeply grieving their losses – years and years later – and then there’s me- I don’t normally get sad or weepy. I have very happy memories of life with Kylie and especially the last few weeks of her life. I was able to take a few weeks off work to just rock her and sing to her and my biggest pleading to God was not that she would be miraculously healed but that I wouldn’t be the one to discover she had died in the middle of the night. God answered that prayer for me.

I am thankful for the short time we had with her and I am even more thankful that she has spent much more time healthy and whole in Heaven rather than in pain here on Earth. I am selfish about a lot of things in my life but somehow when it comes to life and death and the hope of Heaven – I can separate myself from my loss and grief here on Earth and focus on the reward that awaits us. Please don’t take that to mean that I don’t get sad here and there or that I don’t miss my loved ones nor do I judge how anyone else grieves their losses. I just choose not to dwell in that grief.

The months of November and December each year are the “Holiday’s – where we are bombarded with reminders of Joy and where to find it. I think as a society we sometimes forget that finding that Joy and the source of Joy can be ever so hard. Please extend grace to those who are struggling. You may not be able to see their struggles but just know everyone has one and sometimes the best thing you can do is share a smile, a hug or a shoulder and say nothing at all.

We must remember what scripture tells us: “Weeping may stay overnight but there is joy in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b CSB – and for me sometimes there is joy in the mourning.

I am one of the lucky ones- one of the ones who know Jesus and has faith and hope for the future. I know God gave his Son over to die for me and for you. “As the Father loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11 CSB

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Gena Christofferson is a bible loving wife, mother and grandma! She is an aspiring bible teacher, speaker and writer working to encourage others to gather and dwell together in fellowship with one another and God. Gena would love to connect with you on her blog www.gather2dwell.com or on Facebook at Gather2Dwell.