The Victory that Overcomes

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. I Corinthians 15:54-58 (KJV)

Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would be writing about the passing of my father in this Christmas letter. Back in September some friends warned us that the grief would hit us in earnest a few months after the funeral. Maybe it's this delayed grief, or the holiday season or whatever, but Christmas really hurts this year.

This may sound crazy, but for the better part of this fall, Dad's passing almost seemed impossible or unreal to us. But when I saw my father's name etched onto that grave stone, the cold, hard reality came crashing down on me.

This hollow feeling of finality is going to take some getting used to. I miss my dad. The kids miss their grandpa. So many things are just not the same anymore. But this thing I know: when Dad left this world on August 30 he was rejoicing in the blood of Jesus. What else do we have, really? Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts, but our family received several gifts early this year. I got to hear my dad say the words, "I am ready to meet Jesus" right before he died. We got to spend hours in focused, uninterrupted conversation with Dad in his final weeks on earth. My kids got to witness firsthand what it's like to be safe in the arms of Jesus. They saw in my dad what we could never adequately explain to them — that faith is the victory that overcomes. What a gift!

Please set aside some extra time during this crazy holiday season and spend it with your family and loved ones. You'll never regret every moment and every memory you have with those who mean so much to you.

Dear Father in heaven, help us to realize and acknowledge the gift of faith and the blessings of relationships that we so often take for granted. Grant us grace in our times of grief. And thank You for the comfort of knowing we can rest in your arms because of our Saviour Jesus Christ. In His name, amen.