Have you ever noticed that the Christmas season seems to bring back more memories than any other time of year? It seems that every sight, sound, and smell of Christmas triggers a memory of some type.
Some of those memories take us back to happy times in our lives. Others bring back thoughts of sadness. Many make us smile- some make us cry.
For me, I become very reflective during the season. I can sit for hours in front of the Christmas tree just thinking about people, places, and times long gone from my life. And the older I get, the more overwhelming those thoughts can be.
There are loved ones and others that I miss tremendously all the time. But the sense of loss is more acute at Christmas. There are places and times that I would like to go back to, but I can’t. All I have are the memories. And while those memories are indeed precious, they remind me of just how much of this life is gone.
And I realize that each of those losses took a little piece of my heart and left a small hole in its place. And as we age, those small holes begin to add up. And they begin to take a toll.
Maybe you are not one of those who struggle at this time of year with those feelings. But maybe there are those around you who do, and you have an opportunity to be more understanding and more supportive. Or maybe you do feel the impact of those small holes in your heart. And you feel them a little deeper this time of year.
I wish that I had the ability to instruct you exactly on how to get past those moments of sadness. But I don’t. I do strongly believe in the power of substitution where we purposely find a joyful thought or activity to substitute in those moments of sadness. I think that can go a long way to getting us through those down moments of the season.
Purposely taking our mind off ourselves and focusing on others is one of the most effective of those substitutions. There are a million ways to serve others and in turn help ourselves. If you are not currently serving others in need of help, I recommend you give it a try. I can promise that you will find a sense of fulfillment that will improve your perspective.
But those little holes from those big losses can still remain . . .
Throughout Scripture, we find comments about water. In fact, Jesus Himself stated that he is the source of living water. To be honest, that has always sounded pretty church-y to me. I have never given it much thought and can’t say that I totally understand it.
But Jesus used the term living water, so it must be pretty important.
So what does this statement by Jesus have to do with the topic at hand – the topic of those little holes in our hearts.
Well, one of the characteristics of water is that it seeks out holes and it flows in to fill them. Nothing earthshaking there. But Jesus said that He is the source of living water. So could it be that the living water flowing from Jesus is able to seek out those holes in our hearts and fill them?.
I’m not a pastor, preacher, or theologian in any way, but I have found that in those moments where the losses seem too great and the holes too deep, Jesus is there to comfort me. Indeed, that comfort is like water filling in the holes. And I genuinely feel sorry for those that don’t have access to that comfort.
So how can you be assured that you have access to that comfort?
Well, first of all, if you are a believer in Jesus, you have that access through the relationship that your faith established. But you may need to work on your cooperation.
But maybe you have never truly trusted in Jesus as your Savior. Before that access is available to you, there are some things that you must take care of first:
1. You must establish a relationship with Jesus. The comfort of Jesus is not available without a relationship with him. He is actively seeking that relationship with you right now. But it requires an answer from you.
2. Your answer to Jesus must be “yes”. The relationship is only established with your faith in Jesus as your personal Savior. That faith may require some seeking on your part, but you are promised that if you seek, you will find.
3. Once you say “yes” to Jesus as your Savior through faith in the sacrifice that He made for you on the cross, you can access the comfort of Jesus. But it requires cooperation with Him. I most often access that available comfort through prayer and the Bible. He offers me comfort through both. I just have to cooperate with Jesus in the process.
It is my prayer that the warmth of good memories will fill you with gratitude and joy the remainder of this season. But when those feelings of loss and sadness creep in, I pray that you will allow the living water of Jesus to fill in those holes as only He can.
And I hope that you will find moments of joy this year that will create warm memories in the future.
But most of all, I hope you will not just visit Bethlehem this year but will indeed encounter the Savior. And that your “yes” to Him will be the memory of a lifetime.
“Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (John 4:10)