I love this time of year! I love the holidays! I love Thanksgiving! I love Christmas! I love the chance to eat good food and share good times with my family and friends! At the same time I recognize that this time of year is not joyful for everyone. There are many people who struggle during this season because they are facing the holidays without someone they love. Even as I gather with my family and friends today there will be certain loved ones that I wish were here. Even though my dad passed away 5 years ago, I know there will be a moment when I will want to share with him about the great joy that my two granddaughters have brought into my life this past year or tell him about some unique incident that happened to me. As I think about him and the fact that he is not with us, I know I will feel some sadness, but for the most part my perspective will be joyful. My perspective will be joyful because I know that my dad is with the Lord and I am mindful of what the bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13:
1Thess. 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
This scripture is part of a letter that the Apostle Paul had written to the people in the church at Thessalonica. It was one of the first churches that Paul had started and some of the people there had a question for Paul. They were worried about some of their loved ones who had “fallen asleep” or passed away. They were worried that the people that they cared for had missed out on the Resurrection. They were worried that they would never see their loved ones again.
Grief and worry is a very real concern for all of us who have loved and lost someone. We all know what it is like to miss someone when they are gone. Those are the emotions and concerns that Paul is addressing in his letter. Paul is letting the Thessalonians know and letting us know that when somebody who knows Jesus Christ passes away, yes you hurt, yes, you grieve but you don’t grieve like the rest of the world. You don’t grieve like the rest of the world because you know that person is in heaven with Christ. They will be with the Lord forever. While you may be sad, your grief should not consume you. You can have a perspective that includes joy and hope!
And if you are a Christian, if you have confessed your sin and asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, you can have the confidence that you shall see your Christian loved ones again. As Christians we know that if the Lord returns before we pass, He will bring our loved ones with Him. He will bring with Him our Christian brothers and sisters, our Christian fathers and mothers, our aunts, our uncles, our teachers, our friends, those who prayed for us, those who ministered to us and those who played a part in our coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We shall see them again!
And we know that when we see them again, they won’t be sick, they won’t be suffering and they won’t be in wheelchairs and they won’t be in walkers! They will meet us in a glorified body! That is the hope that we have as Christians, and that’s why we don’t grieve like the rest of the world. That is why we have hope! That hope is available to all who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
I pray that if you are grieving from the loss of a loved one that you will know the comfort that only the Lord can provide. I pray that He will minister to you in a very special way so that you can appropriately deal with your grief and enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Ask the Lord to comfort you, ask Him to strengthen you. Ask Him to help you to remember the good times and to walk tall and strong in your faith. The Lord God will help you for He is gracious and compassionate and shows mercy unto His children.
If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org