Christmas is a time for family, joy, gifts and usually over-eating. With one exception, when you have suffered a significnat loss. Then the holidays tend to be heartbreaking, reflective and sad. We tend to remember the loved ones we have lost, and these memories remind us that we won’t see them, till we meet again in the Kingdom of God. Seven years ago, my Dad passed away a couple of weeks before Christmas. My Dad was my best friend, my mentor, and just a joy to be around. Loosing him was simply heartbreaking. I remember going through the holidays thinking of every holiday we spent together, and thinking of what we would be doing if he was still there with us. Believe me, the holidays tend to get very depressing when you are mourning a significant loss.
This 2018, my wife and I went through an unexpected adoption process, where a baby was placed in our care at birth. We were asked by the bilogical parents to adopt him, since they had no way to raise the baby. We joyfully accepted, and made all the preparations to legally adopt baby Joshua. Since it was an international adoption, the process was brutal and complex, but from day 1 we accepted the challenge, adopted the baby in our hearts, and spared no effort to fulfill all the legal requirements to finalize the adoption process successfully. Each one of us made the necessary sacrificies to parent this precious baby boy. After 6 weeks of joyful and stresful anticipation, our court date arrived. The day when the court would legaly grant us the right to legally adopt Joshua. We went to court expectant, hopeful and ready to have a 4th member of the Youssef family. Unfortunately things turned out different than our expectations. Right in front of the judge, the birth mother changed her mind, and decided she wanted her baby back. Needless to say it was, and still is heartbreaking for all of us. I still can’t share all the details of what we felt, and how we feel today.
Christmas tends to be difficult when you don’t have your loved ones around you. Whatever your loss may be, Christmas magnifies the pain. Today, I woke up thinking of the joy it would have been to have baby Joshua with us. All the gifts, all the spoiling, and the laughs. But… he is not here, and we cannot do anything about it. I realize that our loss is different than loosing a spouse, a parent, a sibiling or a child that you raised his/her whole life. Nevertheless it was a very significant loss for us. My wife, my daugther and I have been praying for over 8 years for another child, and we thought Joshua was the one! We sure received him as the one we have been praying for. Loosing him wasn’t, and isn’t easy for us. Yet Christmas time came by, and we decided to celebrate. Celebrate another baby boy that was born in a manger over 2000 years ago to bring us hope, peace and joy. The birth of Christ is the greatest miracle in human history! God became man, and lived among us! When I think of the majesty of the Creator of the universe, I can’t stop being at awe of His great love and great sacrifice to become human, live among us, die for us, and raise from the dead to reconcile us back to himself!
Wether we are suffering or mourning, the message of Christmas is still the only hope of the world. Hope that we are adopted into the family of God. Hope that we are accepted as children of God. Hope that we will be reunited with Him and those whom we have lost in Christ. Hope that we will live forever with God and his family in joyful adoration. That doesn’t make Christmas easy when we are mourning, but the joy of the Good News of Christ’s incarnation cannot and should not be overshadowed by our human suffering, becasue after all, our worst enemy have been defeated by the resurrection of the incarnated God. 1 Corinthinas 15:52-57