This year we had a family flu bug (oh, yes, and a pink eye bug) that traveled through the grandchildren and some of the parents during the week before Christmas. Then we were all healthy Christmas Day, so we gathered together and rejoiced all day long. Then on Sunday that nasty little flu bug began traveling through the rest of the family, hitting the remaining grandkids and even catching me. Now we are all in various stages in the recovery zone. But what a kindness that no one was sick on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It does slow down the post-Christmas mop up, but that is no emergency. But what is the flu compared to the heavy burdens of grief and loss many of our friends are carrying this Christmas? A short bout with the flu is helpful as a good reminder that we live in a world that includes little sufferings like the flu and big sufferings like cancer and death.
For those who have suffered real loss and have been grieving this Christmas, it is a good time to keep Christian grief in perspective. We have a Savior who is a Man of sorrows and acquainted grief. He knows like no one else. He calls us to cast our cares on Him. So I pray for all of you in this season of sorrow, that you will find hope and consolation, good comfort and true Christian joy in the midst of hard times. Jesus and His parents had their share of hard times at the very first Christmas. We have a Savior who is real, and He lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). Difficult days are opportunities for our faith to grow as we learn first-hand how to lean on Him. So learn to lean hard.
Leaning hard brings rest like nothing else. To lean hard you must get under God’s feet and submit to His plans and purposes, even if you do not see them fully or understand them at all. Leaning means shifting all the weight of the burden from your shoulders to His. This may have been the first Christmas you have had without someone dear to you. Lean, rest, and trust. And the more we lean and lean hard, the more peace and rest we will find. Leaning hard means that we say, “He does all things well. This is perfect for me.” And saying that requires faith, and faith is the thing we want.
Samuel Rutherford’s The Loveliness of Christ is full of wisdom and consolation. Here is one sample for you: “Let Christ know how heavy, and how many a stone weight you, and your cares, burdens, crosses, and sins are; let him bear all….I find Christ the most steadable friend and companion in the world to me now; the need and usefulness of Christ is seen best in trials. O, if He be not well worthy of His room! Lodge Him in house and heart.”
God bless you as you lean hard.