Monday, December 7, 2009

Memories of Christmas Past

I remember that Christmas vaguely... it must have been the Christmas when I was seven years old. I remember going to the R's house and Megan giving us little ornaments that she and her mom had made themselves. Each of us received an ornament in red and white stripes of clay bearing the first initial of our names.

Year after year, these ornaments found a place on our tree, and year after year, we thought of our dear friend Megan who had moved far away to Maine.

Then for several years we did not have a Christmas tree, and the ornaments did not go up. Two years ago we got a new tree and pulled the ornaments out again. Finding a place for my clay ornament on the tree, I thought of my friend Megan and wondered where she was and what she was doing. Perhaps she is married, I wondered. Or perhaps she is at college. Wherever she was, I dreamed of meeting up with her one day in the future.
Most of you may remember the shock we experienced this April at the news that Megan had been accidentally shot and killed by a hunter in December of 2006 (see posts here and here). Today is has been three years since she went to be with the Lord, though to us it hasn't even been a year yet. Looking at those ornaments, I remember the sweet friendship we had with Megan, the pain of learning of her death, and the joy and comfort in knowing that we will see her one day in Heaven.

Losing someone you love is a hard thing. This Christmas will be our second without our Grandma Wolfe; it will be Brian W's first with his wife and kids; it will be my Aunt Lois' first without her niece Angela; it will be the R's third without Megan. And yet, at this time so often associated with peace and joy, we can have peace and joy. When Jesus Christ came to earth, it was to live a perfect life and take our sins upon Himself, redeeming us to Himself so that we might have life in His Name and access to the Father. Christmas is about life-- eternal life. Without Jesus, Emmanuel, we would not have this life, and yet He came and lived and died and rose again-- and He has given us abundant life! Because of Him, death does not have that same sting that it has for others, as we know that beyond it lies eternal life in the presence of God-- never-ending, joy-filled, wondrous LIFE!

We can rejoice in the this hope that we have in Christ, for it is a well-grounded hope, a promise from One who is always faithful and true. While we may miss the people who have gone Home before us, we may joy in the fact that theirs and our relationship with Jesus is unshakable, and we are pressing on towards that day when we will be with those others, with Jesus, in heaven.

With the Christmas season underway, I encourage you to not be swept up in the false joy that the world has during this time, but set your eyes on Jesus Christ-- "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). We have so much to praise Him for!

"Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in his wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth."
-Charles Wesley, 1739


Teddy said...

Melanie, that was one of the most beautiful things I've ever read and I (who rarely cry) couldn't read through the sheen over my eyes and was having trouble swallowing. THANK YOU for tying it all back into Christ and our wondrous hope in Him!!!!!

SinginginHisName said...

Yes thank you Melanie for sharing your love for the Lord with us through your friend's life and through Him! I can't wait to meet your friend someday. That is such a comfort and I can't wait to meet Him too!

Rosebud said...

Thank you, sis!! It is useless to look for joy in the world's interpretation of Christmas - in Christ, we find it all!

(P.S. You have an excellent talent for making people cry, especially those people who are tied up in what you write about.)