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Dealing With Death at Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be an exciting time of family and fun. But for many, it can be a painful time dealing with the loss of a loved one. One of the biggest gifts God can give you this Christmas is the gift of peace. Whether it was a child, mate, family or friend, there is nothing you can do to bring the loved one back. But Jesus can bring peace of mind and heart in your difficulty. Jesus once told His disciples, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! The peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives” (John 14:27). Human words often fail us all in tragedy. Jesus offers more than words – He offers His peace.

But peace on earth seems trivial and fleeting. Just this week I heard of two murders, a robbery, the death of a loved one, and found out someone had cancer. War, divorce, sickness, death, and many more attack us on a daily basis. Peace is defined as tranquility and quietness. The Bible doesn’t say that there will be peace on earth. Jesus actually said we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). I’m glad He didn’t stop there. He told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. Is Scripture wrong then when the angels said, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14)? The angels said “on earth peace” not “peace on earth”. Even Linus told Charlie Brown it was “on earth peace”. Here is my conclusion – peace is Jesus. Peace is not the absence of problems but the presence of Jesus.

Jesus brings us peace of heart and mind (John 14:17). But how? Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For it pleased the Father that in Jesus all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made PEACE through the blood of His cross”. Did you catch that? Whether on earth or in heaven, Jesus makes peace through His death on the cross. Ephesians 2:14 tells us, “For He Himself is our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed and abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us” (Ephesians 2:14, Amplified). Paul wrote, “May the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). In a chaotic, tragic-filled world, Jesus is our peace. He is the Lord of peace.

Romans 5:1 reminds us we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. Loss of any kind wants to rob of peace. Some things you can do nothing about. They hit you from behind. You didn’t expect it or see it coming. But it did. In those times, you must trust God and know that He truly cares. He loves you and is going through your pain with you. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” When we keep our minds on Him in the middle of our tragedy, instead of our minds constantly being on our tragedy, we can feel His peace. John 14:27 says His gift to us is peace of mind and heart. It’s not forgetting about the loss but letting the presence of God invade that loss.

The gift of peace and mind really isn’t the true gift. It’s a Person. The gift is His Holy Spirit – the Comforter and Helper. He brings more than just peace. Facing the holidays with the loss of a loved one may be difficult. We all think of the past when everything was going good and we sometimes long for that day to return. As you go through this Christmas season and face the pain and loss of a loved one, open your heart to the Comforter and let Him give you the gift of Peace. Let the Spirit of God control your mind, which leads to life and peace (Romans 8:6). “The Lord gives His people strength and blesses them with peace” (Psalm 29:11).

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

1 reply

  1. This life is hard, and its even harder if we don’t trust in God. I have been asking God to give me peace in my heart and mind, and to help me to trust in Him in all things. I need some joy and happiness in my life. Tired of being sad all the time!

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