As Christmas approaches, I can’t help but think about the parents in Newtown who are facing the first holiday without their precious children. Their loss is so recent and their pain so raw, the hours may still be a blur of activities and adrenalin. A good friend suddenly lost her teen-age daughter in an accident in November a few years ago and I remember how painful she described the holiday season to be that first year.
Sudden loss is a shock and the holidays can be filled with painful reminders. Yet, even when death is not sudden, the grief remains. My grandmother passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. As a nurse, I knew her time was getting short and was blessed to be at her bedside as she passed from this life to eternity with Jesus, her savior. My grandfather died suddenly a few years later without warning and no time to say good-bye. Two types of death, but each of them was equally missed when the holidays came around.
This poem was sent to us in a condolence card and we read it at Christmas. Then, we shared good memories of my grandparents and these helped us to connect the present Christmas to those of the past. Knowing that we are only separated temporarily because of Jesus’ sacrifice was comforting.
Those who have found salvation through Christ have hope in death, and their families have comfort for their grief. If you are facing the first Christmas without a loved one…or if this is a repeated holiday season without someone you loved dearly, may this poem remind you of this fact.
MY FIRST CHRISTMAS IN HEAVENI see the countless Christmas trees around the world below With tiny lights like Heaven’s stairs, reflecting on the snow. The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear; for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year. I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear. But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here. I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing. I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart. But I am not so far away, We really aren’t apart. So be happy for me, dear ones, you know I hold you dear. And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year. I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above. I sent you each a memory of my undying love. After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold. It was always most important in the stories Jesus told. Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do. For I can’t count the blessing or love He has for each of you. So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear. Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
(The poem was sent to us without an indication of the author. An internet search yielded more than one possibility. The website with the most information indicated the author to be Wanda Bencke. My apologies to the actual author if this was incorrect.)