Our first Christmas, when we moved back to Nelson in 2005, was spent at the hospice where my mum lost her battle with cancer. Christmas, for me personally, is always bittersweet. It’s a time of celebration as we remember the birth of our Lord, Jesus, but it’s also a time of sadness as I remember the passing of my mum. For some of you, Christmas may not be an easy time. It can be financially stretching or stressful negotiating oftentimes strained relationships with differing expectations. Sometimes it can be really lonely.
Last Sunday I shared Elizabeth’s story from Luke 1:13, 18-25. She experienced the loneliness of infertility, the disappointment of unmet dreams yet her attitude was one of hope because she knew that God was good. Elizabeth eventually conceived in remarkable circumstances as an old woman, and gave birth to John the Baptist. Her story is one of hope: hope because God is still at work even when we don’t know the outcome; hope because God is good and knows the big picture for our lives; hope because Jesus who knows the frailty and vulnerability of being human, knows what we are going through.
There is a quote from an author I read this week, which says:
Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.
I would like to encourage you that God knows the coordinates for your life and has found you in the middle of your forest and is standing there, right beside you.
Hebrews 6:19 says “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” As you read this, I pray you will know the comfort of the Holy Spirit and experience the hope that comes from knowing you are deeply loved by God. You matter. Your life matters.