Grief at Christmas

By Roy Stetler
December 22, 2023

The joy of Advent and Christmas is our faith that God loves earthiness and the particular experience of each one of us.  That God took on our nature in one particular human being, in one time, and one place is the message of ‘God with us.’  God does not love us in spite of our humanity, but precisely as we were created—human.

When we connect with this love from God, something miraculous happens.  The details of our relationships can become a revelation of God’s love.  Therefore, when we lose beloved family members and friends, experience a broken relationship, or sense the physical decline of our aging process, grief rises.

Grief is not a denial but a confession of faith.  Each life and relationship, full of meaning and value, is precious.  Jesus also lived and died.  His resurrection does not cancel the grief that we feel for his loss or our own losses.

The pain of grief we feel in this season does not mean we have lost our way.  Rather, pain reveals that we have truly engaged in this incarnational life of love, of ‘God with us’ in the vital details of our lives.  We have not “held back.”

These long nights are a reminder that God’s love is known in our love despite the pain of grief which is the shadow of love.  In our pain we share a fellowship of suffering with Jesus and all of creation.  We are not alone because this fellowship is a sharing in compassionate, generous love.

May ‘God with us’ fill you with courage as you continue your particular journey in love.