Mourning and Rejoicing During the Holiday’sBy Trillia Newbell | November 21st, 2012 | Category: Uncategorized | 2 comments
By Trillia Newbell
There are nearly 2,437,163 deaths each year in the United States. Let’s assume that with each death there are at least two people who loved the deceased. That would mean that approximately 4,874,326 mourn the death of one person each year. With the holidays upon us I can only imagine that there are many who desire to rejoice yet struggle because of the loss of a loved one.
I am one such person.
In August, my sister died suddenly from an apparent heart failure. She was 39 years old and left behind my mom, my two younger sisters, and her 12 year old daughter. My family is acquainted with mourning a loss while celebrating holidays. In 1997, my father lost his battle with cancer and ultimately died of heart failure. We have spent years mourning and remembering our sweet loved ones.
Yet this year the holidays seemed to come too soon.
If you are mourning—you are not alone this holiday season. I am mourning too. But God isn’t distant from us. We can mourn and rejoice.
It is good and right to mourn the loss of our loved ones. This holiday season I don’t want to pretend that I am not missing my sister. I will share it with those who ask and I imagine that when all of the family gathers for dinner we will cry together along with our laughing together.
And though it may not be easy, my prayer is that I would “sing praises to the LORD” knowing that “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5).
There is a time for everything and depending on where you are in the process depends on how you rejoice. I cannot rejoice in the circumstance. It is not a circumstance to rejoice over. But I can rejoice in the Lord. I can rejoice during the circumstance. I can rejoice knowing that God is my Savior. I can rejoice remembering that all my sins have been forgiven. I can rejoice knowing that God is my Father—he is with me. I can rejoice knowing that Jesus relates to my sadness—he relates to mourning and is interceding on my behalf.
No Greater Mourning
My father and I had a wonderful relationship. He was my best friend. I shared everything parents only wish a child would share. He supported me. And when he died and departed this earth, he died knowing that he was loved dearly.
Jesus had a bitter end.
On His way to the cross Jesus sat and prayed to his Father, if it were God’s will, to take the cup of His wrath that would be poured out on Jesus’ back away (Luke 22-39). We know that Jesus willingly took that cup and as he hung on the cross waiting for his last breath he cried out as Mark records, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
Jesus, in agonizing physical pain, suffered the mourning of loss—his Father could no longer be in his presence because my transgressions and yours had been poured out on Jesus and had received the just punishment of God’s wrath. Jesus—the only man to ever walk this earth sinless—was forsaken by His father on our behalf.
There could be no greater mourning than the mourning that Jesus must have experienced as he took on the wrath that I deserved and mourned the loss of his Father’s presence.
No Greater Rejoicing
But Jesus concurred death. He defeated it being raised on the third day as he had promised. And as Jesus explained to his disciples, our sorrow would turn into joy and our hearts would rejoice, and no one can snatch that joy from those who believe (John 16: 16-24).
So today I rejoice. Not because my circumstance has changed. But I rejoice in knowing that Jesus concurred death. One day there will be no more dying—the sting of death will disappear and our rejoicing will be forevermore.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality,
then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:54-57)