By Andrea Johnson
I wonder what that first Christmas was like for Mary after Jesus left this earth. I don’t know that her family would have celebrated birthdays even though it’s obvious that rulers of the day, such as Herod, celebrated theirs. But I have yet to meet a mother who doesn’t in some way recall the day of her child’s birth. We don’t know for sure the day of Jesus’ birthday, but you can bet she did.
On that first Christmas after He had left this earth, did Mary find herself automatically setting His place at the table? As she prepared meals for the day did she feel a pang in her stomach when she remembered His favorite dish? Did she catch herself listening for the sound of His footsteps coming up the path to her door? Did her mind go back to His birth and the joy of holding her first bouncing baby boy, counting His fingers and toes and marveling at the way God had given her the means to provide Him sustenance? Did she catch herself smiling as she recalled His first giggle, His first steps, His first words, the way He lit up when she walked into the room? Did her mind go back to the day they had both realized He was now taller in stature than she? Did she catch herself smiling at His jokes? Did her chest swell a bit with pride as she thought about the way He cared for others, about the impact His life had on so many people?
A mother is not supposed to outlive her child. Did her heart ache desperately now to hold Him or at least touch His face one more time, to hear His sweet voice, to tell Him once more how much she loved Him? Did she cry herself to sleep that night?
Of course she knew she would see Him again – one day. But sometimes “one day” seems so far away.
This past year we have lost several beloved members of our Open Bible family. This Christmas many families will be left with empty chairs at the Christmas table, empty spots in our hearts.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.”Psalm 116:15 (NIV)
I remember a pastor once telling me that although we do not “grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, NLT), we still grieve. That’s ok. We know we will see our loved ones again – someday – but for now our hearts ache.
Psalm 116:15 (NIV) says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.”
In this context the word “precious” means costly, or rare, of great value. Death matters to the Lord. It is ok if it matters to us. It would be odd not to mourn the loss of the gift of a loved one’s life.
If you are mourning the loss of a loved one this season, give yourself permission to grieve. Take some time away, know that your Open Bible family grieves with you, and remind yourself that “one day” will appear more quickly than you can imagine.
Because of Jesus “one day” there will be “no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4, NLT).
About the Author
Andrea Johnson, a credentialed Open Bible minister, is the managing editor of the Message of the Open Bible. A graduate of Open Bible College with a major in theology/missions, she has edited and co-edited several books, including Servants of the Spirit: Portraits of Pentecostal Pioneers, We Believe: Core Truths for Christian Living, and We Believe for Kids! Her goal is to reveal Christ to those who are searching for Him. In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea enjoying time with family and friends or hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children, three of whom are married, and seven grandchildren.