Finding Peace in Tragedy at Christmas

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2: 11, 12, 17-19

Everyone was talking about it.

Apparently, after they found the baby, the shepherds shared some profound insight. It seems the swaddling cloths (and the manger for a crib) was a big deal. We understand that Jesus had a humble birth in a Nasty Nativity, but what was the big deal about his clothes?

img_2038There were at least 3 Significant Signs of Baby Jesus’ Wardrobe (for more, click here). This week, with four tragic losses in my circle of friends, I find myself overwhelmed with the thought at the moment of our Lord’s birth, His death was being foretold.

When my Trisomy 18 baby was born, my mom followed her tradition of making each grandchild a beautiful afghan–only this time she lined the blanket with a thick fleece, making it extra warm. I loved having something so comforting to wrap my newborn in. Since my first two were August babies, so I assumed mom had made this one so thick because Rebecca was born in February.

That was only part of the reason.

Two days after the funeral, I woke up in a panic. I called mom crying hysterically. It had dawned on me that I had given Rebecca to the mortician wrapped snuggly in her afghan and I no longer had it to remember her by. I will never forget how the feeling of total terror warmed into complete comfort when I realized that my mom had actually knit together this gift of love with her granddaughter’s burial in mind. It may seem odd to prepare for the end of someone’s life at the beginning of it, but with less than a 5% chance of a Trisomy 18 baby living more than five days, my mom was preparing for the reality that I couldn’t face yet.

No mother should have to prepare for her child’s death,

or for her grandchild’s for that matter, but unfortunately, we live in a broken world and no life is endless. I knew my daughter wouldn’t live long, but it didn’t seem right to believe it. How much harder it must be to deal with such loss when it is not expected! Death is simply never easy to deal with. For me, as the reality set in, it eased my heart to know that, though Rebecca’s body lay in a grave, it was wrapped in love and comfort.

I wonder if Mary was as naive as I was?img_2039
After all her child’s life was designed to be a quick and powerful one, yet she had been told His kingdom would reign forever. I can’t imagine that she could have really understood the signs the Shepherds told her about.

None of us know how long any life will last, and it’s extremely painful when the ones we love go too quickly, but we can all take comfort in knowing that God knows the beginning and the end. He is not surprised by tragedy, He is prepared for it.  Mary was wise to observe the signs and ponder the things she was told, but her greatest strength was in the peace she had because she trusted that God has a plan, no matter how confusing life can be for us.

If you are struggling under the weight of grief this Christmas, I encourage you to live in the moment. If this Christmas is a time of pain, then allow yourself to feel it, but also allow yourself to be comforted. We were not designed to see the beginning and the end, and life is sometimes really confusing, but there is great peace to be found by trusting that God has already lovingly prepared for whatever you are going through.

John 14: 1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” 

*****

As an author and speaker, Catrina’s passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, Catrina now uses her profession, her own powerful stories and her training as a Biblical life-coach to reach the heart in a way that is relatable, encouraging and inspiring. Her message is balanced with both fashion and faith and is making a difference  in the lives of women and girls all over!  To be part of this movement, connect with her on FacebookTwitter PinterestLinked In, Goodreads  and consider having her speak at your next event. Visit http://catrinawelch.com for more information.

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