It’s been a tough old year this year. My husband lost his father and we lost our most beautiful and wonderful fur baby, Zack. He was the Pyrenean Mountain Dog pup which we rescued at the age of just eight months: bullied by an older dog that his owner kept and told that he was not fit for purpose because his legs were too long. Too long! Since when did people judge dogs for having long legs?
Zack said goodbye to us on 3rd August 2018 and I have not ceased mourning his passing. Even now I cry when I see his pictures or write about him. He was so much a part of me, it felt and still feels like a piece of my being has been severed. But God gave him to us to love and to cherish for 11 wonderful years. Oh, he was not the most obedient of dogs, and sometimes did his doo-dahs and number 1 where he shouldn’t have. Nonetheless, I would not have exchanged him for a mountain of gold.
It’s difficult to think of spending Christmas without our white fur ball this year. He was involved in all our Christmas planning, down to what treats and which foods we would buy so that he could have his (human) share too. He shared his last six months with our new rescue, a Great Dane. And I am certain beyond doubt that he instructed the latter on how to behave before he departed this life. That Great Dane has become more and more like him since he died: from not taking food out of the trash to responding to humans the way Zack always did. This Christmas, Horatio will celebrate Christ’s birth with us. And we will all remember Zack together.
When the Lord Jesus came to us at Christmas, he brought with him compassion, goodness, and salvation. The Lord Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He never changes, and is always there to save, comfort, and succour His children. Mankind might think that He has failed us because of the mess the world is in: idolatry, greed, violence, poverty, and unbelief are rife. Humans, as a whole, have made a mess of this world, rather than caring for it as we ought to have done.
However, the Lord forgives. And He is always there for us. This is part and parcel of the Christmas message. Christ did not come to this earth simply to enjoy the party. He came here with a mission: to give us hope of future joy; to bring us salvation through His death and resurrection; and to open the gateway to heaven when we depart this life. All we need to do is to accept what God has so freely given us through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Christmas is a time of remembrance and celebration of Christ’s birth. Our earthly sorrows cannot deflect or take away from that. In this fallen world, there will always be sin, sadness, and death. That we have goodness, happiness and life is a bonus, which is the gift of God. Hence the title of my post tonight: “Christmas Joy Amidst the Tears”.
When you enjoy your Christmas meal on 25th December, sing or hear a carol with the message of Christ’s love in it, or even listen to a sermon that propounds God’s message of hope and joy, do take a moment and ask yourself why Christmas is still being celebrated two millennia after the Lord’s birth. Then think upon how His gift of life applies to you. That gift was freely given, and is free to all who wish to reach out and touch it, and to take and hold it within their hearts. All the Lord asks in return is for you to also offer yourself, your heart, mind and soul in return. He will be your friend for life — even to the end.