Christmas is my favorite holiday, as I’m sure it is with most people. It is rich with symbolism so what writer wouldn’t like that? There is wonderful music, lots of sneaking around (love doing that!) and presents. And then there is the chance to celebrate the birth of the King of kings, Jesus, who was and is the most precious gift of all.
Eleven years ago on Dec. 22nd, Harold’s dad passed away. We buried him on Christmas Eve. The fun part of Christmas was gone for our family, not only that year, but for a few years after. He was such an amazing man of God. The knowledge that he was in heaven was a comfort but we missed him.
This year on Dec. 21st, Harold’s wonderful Aunt Erma passed away unexpectedly after falling and hitting her head on a concrete step. Her funeral will be on the 27th. She was my mother-in-love’s sister and best friend. Erma never married so her family was her sister’s family. She will be buried in the plot next to my father-in-love. Once again Christmas joy is dampened for us.
Yesterday I was thinking about Aunt Erma and how grateful I am that she is in Heaven now, celebrating the real Christmas with the best choir possible. It came to me that with the promised birth of Jesus came the promise of His death. He took on the earthly form of a baby for one purpose: to become our substitution and die to free us from an eternal sentence of existence without God.
Birth guarantees death. We are all dying in slow or fast increments. It hovers in the background usually, waiting its appointed time. As Christians we are straining at the bonds of our flesh, wanting to be in eternity with our King, Jesus. Meanwhile we live, celebrating births and looking for comfort in the deaths of those we love.
Mary knew that Jesus would one day die. We all know our children will die, hopefully after we do. I wonder when exactly did Mary know how her son would die? When did she realize what a wonderful gift to humankind his death would bring? But before all of that Jesus was a baby, born in difficult circumstances to a mother who had trusted her womb to God.
So I trust Aunt Erma’s soul to God, knowing that the pain of her death is eased by the joy of knowing where she is for eternity, and where Harold’s dad is for eternity, and all those whom have believed in the birth and death of Christ Jesus which makes it all possible.
“Death where is thy sting, grave where is thy victory?”* indeed.
*I Corinthians 15:55 KJV