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This has been a very sad Christmas season. I can’t get around it. No matter how hard I try. This has been a sad month.

This past month has been extremely sad for people I know and love. It has included many stressors and griefs. I’ll only name a few.

Two friends have gotten horrible news regarding the health of their husbands. The husband of one died the Saturday before Christmas and the funeral was the day after Christmas. I expect another funeral very soon.

Earlier in the month, a woman I have known since she was a child, lost her infant daughter at 33 weeks into her pregnancy. Only two days before, all had been fine. Suddenly, her sweet baby was gone.

Grief and loss has been fresh in my heart. I see it all around me.

At times like this, I can’t live in my emotions all the time. Yes, they are real. But I have to focus on some facts as well.

It has been difficult to have that festive feeling this Christmas. I have needed to focus more on joy and hope along with feeling the sadness and grief. That has to come from facts, not emotion. So what are the facts?

Why did Jesus come? He came to redeem us. It is very good news and it is no small thing. We usually don’t pay attention, on a daily basis, to our need and why it was so important for Him to come to earth and come to us in human flesh. Sin, brokenness and death have affected our world since the Fall. It is not the way Creation was supposed to be.

For us personally, our sin is what keeps us from a relationship with GOD. He is holy. He can’t be around sin. We are naturally sinful. It affects every part of our lives. We are deeply unaware of the degree to which it affects us and those around us. We compare ourselves to other humans. We live in denial regarding our sin and its effects on those around us. We sin, not only in ways we commit sin, but by the ways we omit doing good things we should be doing.

As we look at the 10 commandments, we see there are things we should do that we don’t. But we also see things that we are to do, that we don’t do. “Love GOD with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” Who can do that? Not one of us.

That’s why we need Jesus. He, as the GOD/man, was the only one able to live as a human, yet also as GOD. He lived a perfect life here on earth. At the end of those 33 years, He died on a cross to pay for our sin. He didn’t have to pay for His own sin. He was the perfect sacrifice. Because He was GOD, He was able to pay for the sin of an infinite number of people.

In doing that, He traded our sinful record for his perfect record. Now, when we stand before GOD, we don’t come with our awful record of failure. We come with His perfect record. That’s why we can say that if we are “in Christ”, we are righteous. We have His righteous record now instead of our own record of failure and repeated sin.

This is why, in the face of grief and loss, we can have joy and hope. Jesus has won the victory over sin and death. Our hope in the face of death is that there is coming a day when we will see our loved one again if they are in Christ too. Click To Tweet

How do I focus on joy and hope in the face of grief and loss?

This is why, in the face of grief and loss, we can have joy and hope. Jesus has won the victory over sin and death. Our hope in the face of death is that there is coming a day when we will see our loved one again if they are in Christ too.  As sad as we are to lose them, it does take the sting away to know that we will see them again. And that when we see them next, we will be in different bodies that are whole and eternal.

It’s true. We keep forgetting that our life here on earth is very temporary. It goes by in no time! It is often described as being like a puff of smoke. That’s how fast it goes by. Eternity is where we need to put our investment. Once we get there, it will never end…ever.

We keep forgetting that our life here on earth is very temporary. It goes by in no time! It is often described as being like a puff of smoke. Eternity is where we need to put our investment. Once we get there, it will never end...ever. Click To Tweet

That’s why we can have hope and joy when we think about what it will be like.

thought for today: Are you preparing for the place where you will be spending most of your time? Or are you investing all of your planning in the place that is going to be gone like a puff of smoke?

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
 and hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood,
much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:1-11 ESV

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