When Holidays Hurt

My sister died July 1, 2018. No warning. No extended illness. No freak accident. The only memory that remains is the frantic call from my brother-in-law to tell me the news. Like a pebble tossed on a lake that leaves a brief ripple upon the water, then disappears, the event passed. No goodbyes. No closure. No regrets.

Until Christmas rolled around.

As children my sister and I shared a room. Rode horses. Attended Sunday School. Giggled over boys. As adults we lived very different lives. We rarely saw each other. The holidays, though, always found us catching up. I’d buy her husband the obligatory Hickory Farms sausage. She’d gift my children with stuffed animals and the like.

And we’d talk.

We’d say things to each other we’d never mention to others. Because we could.  Because we knew each other. The honesty refreshed us. She had a way of casting a humorous spin to everything we shared. We’d end the call and go our separate ways, the memory of the conversation lingering in my mind.

In 2018 that call never came.

Grief at the holidays is nothing new. The loss of someone dear hovers like a gift we forgot to purchase. A stocking on the mantle hangs empty. When we gather for dinner, the empty seat reminds us who is missing.

As a Christian I have hope that I will see my sister again. Those who have professed their belief in Jesus Christ are promised eternal life. Jesus said he went ahead to prepare a place for us in his kingdom.

In I Corinthians 15:55-7 we are told: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

If this Christmas, you are missing someone close to you, take comfort in the promise that if they had faith in Jesus Christ, He has ushered them into another realm. When heaven beckons me I expect my sister to be waiting at heaven’s door.

That is my hope. Make it yours.

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