Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Christmas in Heaven

This Christmas is a first, of sorts, for my close-knit extended family. One particular sunny smile and contagious laugh won't be present at our traditional Christmas Eve lasagna dinner with nieces, parents, and siblings, this year.

Richard when the Mets are winningIt's my brother Richard's first Christmas in Heaven. (Photo: Rich enjoying a Mets win)

I know I'm one of many of course, who is trekking through the holidays missing a loved one—not an easy task. But I can't help wondering what he's experiencing right now.

…A Heavenly birthday party for the King of Kings?

…Beautiful angelic voices lifted in praise?

…The indescribable sights of Heaven, too intense for our finite minds to comprehend this side of the veil?

...Or just the incomparable presence of God Himself—love so pure and perfect we cannot even imagine it here on Earth.

I know Rich must be loving it there; free from pain, IVs and chemo treatments. And, I'm so glad for him, though he is terribly missed down here by those of us waiting to see him again.

My thoughts turn to Jesus' mother, Mary. Now, I realize the first century Christians probably didn't celebrate Christmas—at least not in the way (or the time of year) we do. But, every mother remembers giving birth, and especially a birth as unique and special as Jesus' was—no doubt she was thinking about it in the months after she saw her Son die and then rise again.

I'm sure her heart grieved the absence of her beloved Son, and yet she would remember the unquenchable new hope that His resurrection brought to all mankind.

Jesus' gift to us: being "justified by faith" and having "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom.5:1)

It enables our hearts to grieve WITH HOPE instead of without it, and that makes all the difference in the world.

So, as Rich spends his first Christmas in Heaven, I say to him, "Enjoy all the beauty and magnificence of your new Home as I know you are. We all miss those little things that made you, you—but we know we will see them and you again. In their place, your compassion and your faith remain—an inspiration and tangible legacy to us. Merry Christmas big brother, I'll see you later."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a very touching story. I lost my father in 2008, one day before my birthday and I still miss him.
God bless to you and your family from Stephan, Belgium

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Aimee. My mom 87 and her sister 77 lost their brother 82 this year. My aunt is coming for the first time this Christmas and we are making it super special. Everyone seems to be connecting yet in new ways - new beginnings. Bless you and yours. MJT

Anonymous said...

Aimee,
Norm here from Springfield, OR. My cousin Leona just sent me the following poem that she found and revised in 2006. I was amazed at the similarity of titles and theme between the poem and your blog article. Here it is:
MY FIRST CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN


I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
With tiny lights like heaven’s stars reflecting in the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, Please wipe away that tear!
I AM SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST THIS YEAR!

I hear so 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 within your heart;
But I am not so far away - we really aren’t apart!*

So be happy for me, dear one; You know I hold you dear,
AND BE GLAD I’M SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST THIS YEAR!

I send you each a special gift from my heavenly home above.
I send you each a memory of my undying love.

After all, “LOVE IS THE 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 describe the BLESSINGS, OR HIS LOVE FOR EACH OF YOU!

So have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND WIPE AWAY THAT TEAR!
JUST REMEMBER, I’M SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST
THIS YEAR!


*(“...Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” [I Thessalonians 5:9b,10].)

Anonymous - (Revised by Leona Thomas 2006)

Paula said...

Dear Amy,
My heart is filled with the Joy too that both my dear sister Sally and my Mom Anna are sharing their Christmass together too along with many other dear realitives in heaven.
Sally died 2001 then my Mom in 2002 one month past Sallys grand entrance into her heavenly home.
She too had cancer an our Mom had altizimers and dementa she was 90 years old Sally was 62 my age now.
As her sister I am blessed with her son as he lives with us ironocially his name is Donald and so is my husbands name. We love him as our own son. He shares his work life with our son-in-law. Our daughter thinks of him as a second brother.
We are blessed beyond words for what Christ did for us in this season we too pray for our nephew that sometime soon he too will come into his inheratance from Christ.
Our nephew lost his Dad to suside at age 5 an then his Mother at age 21.
I never fully understood what these words would mean untill my sister passed, "dont worry about your son Donald, we love him and would never forget him he will always take care of him".
Abba who constantly does just that is the one who I depend on for strength to pass on to my dear nephew now son Donald Shane.
An so he is at this moment upstairs in our daughters living room with his family exchangeing Christmass gifts as I type this and feflect on what my sister and brother-in-law gave to us for Christmass seven years ago.

Thank you Amy for your wonderful story about your dear brother.

Paula from CT

Ann said...

Thanks, Aimee. Your words helped on a very difficult day. I lost my 51-year-old husband in October, leaving me and our 12-year-old daughter. As I tried to muster the spirit to play some Christmas hymns on the piano last night, I couldn't help but try to imagine the heavenly music he is enjoying.