In Luke 2, verses 10-11 we read, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’”

Seek the Light

We make our way through the valley of the shadow of death because of the certainty of light, the assurance of God's light, the light we seek at Christmas.


At this time of the year, whatever festival or occasion you celebrate, most of us can recall a vignette of some kind that is part of our personal lore of the season. Some experiences we cherish and remember for a lifetime, others persist in memory, though in truth maybe they are better forgotten.


Grief often collides with the ongoing celebration of life.

The Forest

As the custom of the Christmas tree developed in the 19th century, “O Tannenbaum” was adopted as a Christmas carol. The song speaks of the ever-green quality of the fir as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness. When we reflect on the spiritual imagery represented by the Christmas tree, we’re reminded of God’s faithfulness to us, especially as we grieve, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV).

The Other Side of Grief

Reconciling our experience of loss and sorrow with the grace of faith leads us slowly but surely to the other side of grief. There we find there the inevitable outcome of our experience of grief—joy.

Troubled Grief

There is a kind of grief deeply rooted in our personal tangle of regret, guilt, and unresolved emotions that can only be described as troubled. Troubled grief feels unshakeable, as though an impenetrable semi-gloom has settled over our life. Troubled grief is a malaise of mind and spirit that for a while can dictate our every mood and daily disposition.

Scrappy Grief

Many struggle with the kind of grief that is love turned inside out. Scrappy grief feeds on the fragmented, disconnected, emotional odds and ends of incomplete relationships and unfinished love. Sometimes we feel this way when our affections have been misused or extinguished by duty, responsibility, overbearing demands, or disappointed expectations.

Speed Grieving

Grief forces us to sort through the emotions that overwhelm us after the death of one we love while at the same time we work to reconcile ourselves to permanent loss. There is nothing speedy about this daunting challenge. But if we take the time—or make the time—to experience our grief, to wrestle it down and understand it, we get through grief even as we go through grief. This is the reward of our labors for doing the work of grief.

This Side of Grief

Grief has the power to create divides in our life, occasionally even deep chasms. Sometimes we feel that it’s “us” and “them”—those who understand our grief, and those who will never know what grief feels like until they themselves have a personal experience of loss and sorrow. Grief is an equal-opportunity experience—at some time we will all know the pain and sadness of grief when one we love dies.

Unison Grief

A commonwealth is a federation of states or any group of persons united by some common interest. In the face of senseless violence, those who are helpless onlookers are most certainly part of a commonwealth. As we join hands and hearts across continents and the continuum of life, we grieve in unison for each individual who is lost to us in death and for every person who survives and grieves.


 Comfort is a repetitive experience of grief—there’s no one-time, once and for all comfort that can fix our grief and send us on our way in life. When we grieve, over time what we—discern is that God is persistent in comforting us—again and again and again. The psalmist assures us, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.” (Psalm 71:20-21 NIV).
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