the greatest gift

after losing his daughters at sea
and his business up in flames
watered by his tears
beautifully, he writes and sings
it is well
it is well with my soul

with a heartbeat of hope
this song is a reminder to all
that as the Christmas bells ring
scattering the ashes of our losses
we, too, can rise up and sing
it is well
it is well with my soul

joy, peace and comfort
can co-exist with grief and pain
because of the hope that is found
in the birth of our Savior
and, for that
my song will never fade
for we’ve already been gifted
the greatest gift of all

*this poem was inspired by Horatio Spafford’s well known hymn, It is well with my soul. When I first heard the story of the roots of the song many years ago, it moved me to tears. But, it also helped me to realize the beautiful truth in my own story, that even when the waves are crashing, when experiencing loss and grief, when the future is so uncertain, I can still sing, It is well, it is well with my soul.

I don’t know all that you’ve had to endure this year, but chances are you, like I, have had to go through some unexpected things that have shifted the very foundation we stand upon. It’s the hardest part about living in this fallen world-we have to experience grief and pain.

“Jesus wept.”

One of the shortest and most profound Scriptures in the Bible are those two words. Several weeks ago, my pastor was teaching on this passage of Scripture and posed the question, “Why did Jesus weep when he knew he was getting ready to raise Lazarus from the dead?” His answer moved me. He explained that because death was never supposed to be the human experience, Jesus wept. He wept for what should have never been. Go back to Genesis and read all about it.

Because of the Fall, death became our sentence. But, then, here comes the Christmas message! Our Messiah is born. Jesus comes into the world, dying a criminal’s death, to remove the sentence off of our lives. So, even while we weep for what pain we’ve had to experience in this life, we know that at the end of the chapter, we get to rejoice in the resurrection! Most of the time, I still struggle to wrap my head around what He’s done for you and I. But, knowing that He came and will come again soon gives me so much hope.

Even as I mourn the things that I’ve lost, I celebrate all that I’ve gained in Christ. Even as I walk through the valley, I can lift up my eyes and know that there will be a day, when all will be made whole again. Because of the love of my Savior, I can sing with a joy in my heart that Jesus put there.

Sometimes, it’s the painful chapters of our lives that help us to get a greater glimpse of what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, is here! He has come to save, heal, deliver, set free…what greater joy is there than this!

As 2 Corinthians 9:15 states, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

From my heart, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and that this year, as you celebrate with your family and friends, your hearts may be filled with all the joy and goodness that the hope of this season brings.

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