Christmas has a way of quickening any preexistent grief, and there certainly seems to be more than the usual amount of that (grief, that is) in our nation this year. If the holidays find you feeling sad, whether from one of the headline-news tragedies or some private sorrow known only to God and to yourself or even some short-lived disappointment, perhaps it will encourage you a mite to know that feeling sad when the rest of the world demands celebration makes you no less acceptable to God.
He does not add guilt to your burden, nor does He stand at a distance with His arms crossed and foot tapping in impatience, waiting for you to get over it and move on.
At ladies' Bible study this fall, I was the de facto keeper of the tissues. The curriculum touched a fair amount of tender spots among the group, and since I almost always have tissue with me, I would take out my travel pack and pass it down the table. When Allen catches me crying, he usually brings the tissue to me with a hug or hands on my shoulders.
One time, though, he cupped my face in one hand and wiped the tear trail away gently, so gently, with the side of his thumb. I have forgotten what made the tears well up that night, but I have not forgotten how that tender touch healed something more than just a tear on my cheek.
That's the kind of tenderness I think of when I read these Scripture passages:
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
~Isaiah 25:7-9, ESV
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
~Revelation 7:17, ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
~Revelation 21:4, ESV
That God puts my tears in His bottle is a lovely, caring image, but it's so much more personal to me that He will wipe away our tears someday. Every tear, from all faces. If I were with you, crumble, I would certainly pass you a tissue; God is with you now, however, and He will do much better. May you be especially conscious of His nearness, whether you have a broken heart or not, heart today.
What else I'm holding in heart, hands, and home today:
~longing for the one we await, for that day when we say, "Behold, this is our God."
~reading that points toward that day, as I press on with the year's Bible schedule of readings with the last books of Old and New Testaments
~changing plans for Christmas Eve with family
~some new loose teas
~a new NSAID medication from my doctor, to test whether my blood pressure changes reflect a new sensitivity to the previous one
~lovely surprises for body, soul, and spirit in a Christmas package from a friend
~a glass cabinet door full of friends' faces and Christmas greetings
~a new fudge recipe that worked better than I imagined
~empty medicine bottles for a bit of tummy trouble Ebony had (inevitable when one persists in eating that which is not food)
~warm new socks in a sudden reversal of our unseasonably warm weather
~waiting with a friend for her post-cancer test results
~encouragement in my heart from my doctor
~appreciation for our faithful UPS delivery man
~an eyeglass prescription yet to be filled by December 31
~prayers for safe travel for all in the air and on the roads this weekend and next week
~and prayers for comfort for the lonely, sorrowful, and weary to know Emmanuel's love as they observe His nativity
linking today with Amy's "What I'm Holding" series