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Today’s Truth

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased (Luke 2:14 ESV)!

Friend to Friend

While Christmas is full of joy and celebration, the world is not exempt from sorrow during this season. For many of us, our hurting hearts experience intensified ache as memories flood our minds. Whether thoughts of a loved one now in heaven or painful circumstances of the present, the Christmas season often ushers in a wish for things to be different. Sometimes it’s not a present pain, but the ache of a painful past escorted in afresh.

Discouragement doesn’t stop lurking at Christmas. Disease doesn’t stop waging its war. Death doesn’t pause for a few days. What does “Joy to the World” really look like?

That first Christmas appeared much different than today’s exuberant celebrations. When Jesus was born, His parents didn’t plan a gender reveal party. No one ordered a baby shower cake. Oh, Mary, yes, as the mother, she prepared for the arrival of her baby. But a business trip for tax purposes was probably the last thing on her agenda. Riding a donkey most likely would have been her last wish in her ninth month of pregnancy.

The point is, Jesus wasn’t born into ideal circumstances. Despite the unsuitable stable, the Light of the World made His grand entrance in the form of a little baby. Human flesh held the Son of God and the glory of the night could not be contained. Angels sang their glory to God and hope, true Hope for the world was born! THIS is the joy of Christmas!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14 ESV)

At ages 3 and 4, my daughter, Taylor, unwrapped her Christmas gifts with exuberance. Though diagnosed with a rare terminal disease, she brought so much joy everywhere she went. Her pigtails and giggles were the perfect bubbly match. Gradually she lost skill after skill from speaking to singing to feeding herself. Her smiles grew scarce, and her pain became more evident year after year. She fought to perform daily essential activities like walking, chewing and swallowing. And then she stopped unwrapping gifts. It’s been almost three years since my Taylor lost her battle with disease but won the war and stepped into heaven’s eternal light.

Our family will never forget the glorious gift she was to us, but we also find joy in God’s plan as the best plan for her life. Daily we’re hanging on to the hope of heaven, Jesus. Although the twinkling lights of this season please the eye, they truly serve as reminders that God gave His Son to be the Light of the World. One day, all will be right again. Until then, there is peace available to us in His presence.

Regardless of the trials you face during the Christmas season, the gift you need the most is the One who longs to live in your heart. No matter the ache or the longing, the sorrow or the suffering, the birth of Jesus brought hope and healing to the entire world. For this, we can celebrate with JOY!

“So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22 NLT).

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your one and only Son. Jesus, You are our hope and joy. We bring You glory because You brought us peace. May we rejoice anew today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

Where have you discovered joy in hard spaces this season? Share them in the comments!

More from the Girlfriends

Do you know someone who could use a gift of joy? Send them a set of  Rachel’s Beautiful 31 Days of Prayers for the Heart prayer cards. When you can’t find the words to pray or simply need prayer reminders to beautify your heart and your home, this set of cards will usher in peace and joy.

© 2021 by Rachel Wojo. All rights reserved.

14 Responses to “When Christmas Hurts”

  1. Wendy says:

    Struggling with my son, he is a relationship and not divorced from his wife, he had a child with the girl. He has lost his place where he was living with this girl, they moved in with her family and her parents were not paying their bills and they are now homeless. My son took a large amount of money out of his 401 K to support this family and buy a place. They continue with using the system. His girlfriend and mother have been disrespectful to me and question on why I have not helped. I have bailed my son out numerous times. I love my son, but I feel he is being taken advantage of because he is a hard working man. He wants my husband and I to come for Christmas breakfast, but I am struggling going because of the way I was treated by the girlfriend and her mom, the mother is living with them. It hurts also that he put this family above his own daughters. I am struggling because my son and I had a great relationship that is very strained.

    Thank you for listening.

  2. Darlette says:

    Thank you for today’s devotional .My only sibling passed away in August from Covid. This season has been very painful without her but thank you for the reminder that I will see her again and she is not suffering but whole in the light of Jesus! Praise God!

    • Rachel Wojo says:

      My heart hurts for you in your pain, Darlette. May the Lord continue to shed light on your path. How wonderful that you have your eyes on him in the midst of the hurt.

  3. Norma says:

    I am in the middle of a battle with PTSD, anxiety and depression. Some days are harder than others and yet I have found joy in serving on our worship team. It is what I looooong for, to bring others into the presence of God even in their brokenness. I also have found joy in having all of my 4 kiddos together. As they get older and move on, it can really do a number on a Mama’s heart strings, but when I have them together, all seems right in the world.

    • Rachel Wojo says:

      I am so sorry for the journey you are walking, Norma, but yes, the presence of the Lord is so precious. I love that you are worshipping in the midst of the difficult!! There is power in that!

  4. Debbie says:

    Rachel,thank you for the boldness to share your loss, to share the Joy in the birth of our Lord and Saviour. For me Christmas is a time to reflect on memories of the past,along with the folks who formed the memories I have today.

    If not for the birth of our Lord and Savior we would not have the hope of eternal life. I selfishly ask God why he allows so much sorrow and pain in this world and I find myself repenting for not having enough Faith in Gods will for those who walk in the Christian faith.

    I am going through a difficult season with my adult children,but how great is our God to send messages of encouragement such as yours. I am learning Joy isn’t always just pure happiness: true Joy is found in my precious memories,and the hope of being reunited with those I love and miss in eternity.

    I love music and Christmas Carols but, A favorite song “Keep in the moment” by Jeremy Camp is playing on loop in my mind. I truly don’t want to miss what God has for me. Merry Christmas, In his perfect love!

  5. JS says:

    This is hard…we have 3 grown daughters…one in which is excluded from every family function because the other 2 hate her. I’ve tried so hard to help them resolve their issues but the 2 tell me if she comes they will not. Along with this our youngest gave birth to our very first grandchild last year. We are in our 60’s & was elated to finally be grandparents BUT she has stripped us from him now 7 times in one year. It feels as though the devil has taken over her, she’s angry all the time. I walk on eggshells to try to keep her happy but instead she looks for reasons to blame me for everything. As I sit here I’m trying so hard to enjoy this Christmas season but I don’t see it. Please help me by praying for restoration of our family.🙏

  6. RANDI says:

    LOST MY MAMA JAN. 8TH 2021. ALL THE “FIRSTS” SEEM TO BE THE HARDEST ALONG WITH THE DAILY MISSING HER. SHE LIVED WITH MY HUSBAND AND I FOR 5 YEARS AND DID MY BEST TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER ALTHOUGH HARD AT TIMES. BUT I DIDN’T MIND. I LOVE AND MISS HER DEARLY. I KNOW WHERE SHE IS! SHE ALWAYS WOULD SAY TO BE ABSENT FROM THE FLESH IS TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD! I’M NERVOUS BUT IM EXCITED TO GO!! IN HER LAST DAYS I BELIEVE SHE HAD ONE FOOT IN THIS WORLD AND ONE IN THE OTHER AND KNEW SHE’D BE GOING SOON. I KNOW THIS PAIN WON’T GET BETTER BUT I PRAY TO MY LORD AND SAVIOR IT GETS EASIER IN JESUS NAME. GOS BLESS ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE. MAY GOD’S PEACE GIVE YOU REST AS IT HAS GIVEN ME.

  7. MaryAnne says:

    Many players for you and your family during the holiday season. I have lost loved ones and I know that the holidays are the hardest This Christmas will be different for me. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer I had treatment for it and then I just found out 2 weeks ago I have cancer in the other breast.Not sure what this is going to entail. So there is alot of struggling with anxiety,but I know it’s not losing a loved one. I know God is good and he has pulled me through the fire so many other times. So I’ll put my hope and my faith in him the the best I can! May God bless you and Merry Christmas to and yours!

  8. Marianne says:

    I lost my husband of nearly 48 years suddenly just before Christmas 2020. Also lost 3 cousins through the year. I am so sad and heart broken. I look to Jesus for comfort and hope he hears my cries.

  9. Pam B says:

    Losing family has been very painful and dealing with my son who has mental illness I want to shut down, God keeps me going lots of prayers thru out the day Iam able to make it but it’s been a real struggle.

    I have so much to be thankful for as well
    My 7 year old granddaughter just left that was a joy we ate laughed and played ☺️

  10. Ruthi says:

    My Mamawent to heaven in August
    My Uncle died in September
    A good friend is in heaven, went there this month.
    God is good all the time. He has provided Salvation.
    This doesn’t mean I don’t miss them though. The Holy Spirit is with me to comfort me.

  11. darnel says:

    Ruthie,

    Rachel said it! Peace amongst those with whom he is pleased

    Heaven
    Heaven
    Heaven

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8