As the Christmas holidays approach our thoughts turn to shopping and planning and singing and praying and cooking and wrapping and on and on. I feel the pinch already and it’s not even December yet. I’m also a bit ambivalent since it will be my first Christmas since Charles’ death, made extra difficult because it was his favorite holiday and he always decorated our house like Macy’s or Nordstrom.
On the other hand I have grandkids and now a great grandson to indulge and enjoy, as young people always bring laughter and excitement to the days leading up to Christmas and the day itself.
To help myself, I attended a seminar at church a few weeks ago on ‘surviving the holidays’ (after the death of a loved one). It was inspiring and practical and I left the meeting room feeling encouraged and even joyful. I realized that if I focus on the true meaning of Christmas–the birth of Christ–then I will be full of joy despite the circumstances.
Were it not for Jesus coming to earth and then dying and rising again to assure us of life everlasting, I could easily give in to sadness and disappointment. But if I focus on what matters most, then the lyrics of Helen Lemmel’s beautiful hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” (1922–public domain) will inspire me to remain peaceful and joyful.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
May each one of us turn our eyes and hearts this season to the one who makes all things new and possible–even as we shop and decorate and enjoy family and friends.