The Sad Christmas

Monday, December 14, 2015
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 42:1,2,5 – As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. (NIV)

It was a sad Christmas. A special, long-time friend and companion had died suddenly, and a light had gone out of my life with her passing. No amount of positive and faith-based thinking lifted me from the doldrums. My energy had waned, and holiday activities didn't interest me in the least. Advent came, and the house wasn't decorated. The cookie-baking list hung limply on the fridge. The Christmas wreath failed to adorn the front door. Instead of Christmas thoughts and plans, my mind was saturated with memories of my friend and the pain that she endured before the release of death brought freedom, and with thoughts of how unfair her passing seemed to me. Life was the pits, and I wondered how long it would be before this deep lethargy and sadness would lift.

As usual, I wondered where God was when I needed Him, as the psalmist wrote, "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." Have you ever found that? When things are really tough, God just seems to disappear. Our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling, and that still, quiet voice is so still as to be indiscernible. Grief and Christmas just don't go very well together, I thought, and then, I thought again.

What was it like for God on that first Christmas morning, when, instead of having His Son beside Him as He had been from the beginning of time, He watched Him from the heavenly realms as He was born in a lowly manger? What was it like for God to see earthly parents raising His beloved One and Only? How did it feel not to be able to communicate with Jesus in the way they'd always had? How had He come to grips with what He knew was to be the fate of His Son at the hands of man? Mmmm, maybe for God, Christmas and grief do go together. That is why, on that sad Christmas, even though I didn't feel like it, I chose by faith to continue to put my hope in God, my Saviour, that in time, joy would once more permeate my soul. I chose to believe that in God's hands, all things can be worked together for good. I embraced the truth of Scripture that God is with me all the time and is comforting me even when I cannot feel or hear Him. Yes, out of the depths of my misery, loneliness, and confusion, I would continue to choose to hope and praise Him, wondering, as I did so, whether perhaps this might truly be one of the best gifts that I could ever offer Him: the gift of faith and hope in Him, my Saviour and God, amidst a sad Christmas.

Prayer: Father God, we thank You that You are a God Who understands everything about us, that You do care, and that You are with us in the midst of our loneliness, pain, and confusion, for indeed You are Immanuel: God with us. Bless those who mourn and grieve this Christmas season. Strengthen them to choose to embrace the truth of Your living Word, Jesus Christ, that they might have the faith and hope to present You with the gift of praise for Who You are, amidst their sea of pain. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Lynne Phipps <>
Tawatinaw, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A needed reminder Lynne. God bless.

    Dear Lynne, you speak where my heart is this season. Thank you.

    Thank you Lynne.
    May you have a Happy, Healthy Christmas.

    Thanks for sharing your story today. May you be truly blessed this Christmas season. Keep writing.

    A Good spiritual insight Lynne, and a great message for edifying the saints.
    God’s peace and blessings be with you this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    Lynne, your devotional is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing the insights you gained while suffering the loss of a dear friend. I pray your testimony of faith will help others who are grieving throughout the holiday season.

    Dear Lynne,
    I was touched with your devotion this morning as I listened, memories of how and when my husband passed just a month before Christmas several years ago. Thank you for helping me to re-live that time of grief and how the Lord gave me strength to go on.
    May God continue to bless you with the devotionals you write.
    Blessings from a grateful follower of Christ.

    What a sweet devotional. Loss at Christmas is very hard. Actually loss is where God shows us of His infinite love for us as He gives His best gift. Forgiveness through Jesus. As we learn more personally of His awesome gift of His Beloved Son for us we realize His Precious gift to us is His present to time and space — to give Praise each day for this day and the many gifts it represents minute by minute. (B.C.)

    Hello Lynn,
    What a sad but wonderful truth, that Our Heavenly Father does understand our sorrows over a lost one, but most of us think that it didn’t hurt him at all.
    Keep up the devotionals. You are one inspired writer that I enjoy reading PresbyCan Devotionals from.
    God bless you and yours this Christmas Season.

    Dear Lynne,
    Thank you so much once again for your wonderful and timely teaching. I had been feeling bad for myself and my son as my grandson (son’s son) would not be with us at Christmas so my son says he will work a lot of overtime.
    I have had many bad Christmases which only seem to keep coming back to mind each year.
    Then I read your message. Now I am going to put up the tree and decorate the house. I will also cook some turkey for my son’s lunches and go serve turkey dinner on Christmas day at our Homeless Shelter, something I have always wanted to do. You have shown me once again by your teaching to see what should be done. And to feel good about it. Thank you so much Lynne and may God bless you at Christmas time. And may you remember how wonderful a Christmas your friend will have in Heaven this year!

    Dear Lynne,
    Thank you for saying it well. Your long paragraph gives me a new slant on Jesus and God in relation to Jesus’ coming and God’s part.
    I realized something new from Hebrews 12:26. It was so very poignant to become aware that Jesus was aware of a JOY set before him when enduring the cross.
    I suppose he could because he was aware that he was enduring the cross for the salvation of all humanity who would accept his sacrifice and be with himself in heaven.
    How tremendous!

    Lynne your devotional has painted a painfully graphic picture of what my sister is going through for the second year after the sudden death of her husband.
    She has managed to keep her eyes on the Lord, and refused to give into the feelings of emptiness, but I can feel her pain and unasked questions as she talks to me.
    I am going to forward your devotional to her in hopes that it may give her some comfort.
    Thank you for sharing this experience.

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