It'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."