Tears fall for a reason and they are your strength not weakness.-The boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Charlie Mackesy
My dad passed away three years ago, the week before Christmas. He spent about a week and a half in the hospital due to the lung disease he was battling. We were weary from driving back and forth but were happy to sit by his side, hoping he’d return home before Christmas day.
One morning, while getting some shopping done—I still needed to make Christmas happen for my family—Dad called me from the hospital. He told me his heart wasn’t doing well, and the doctors weren’t sure what else they could do. I could hear the machines pumping in the background and knew he was worn down and frustrated. “It’s okay, Dad; we’ll be there soon,” I soothingly said as I dropped what was in my hands, leaving the mall’s holiday buzz for the hospital’s sad reality.
He passed away just before midnight that same day. His body had given up, and he went home, just not how we had hoped.
Tears falling and twinkling lights.
I do not overlook the juxtaposition of twinkling Christmas lights alongside grief. Special days like Christmas do not shield us from hard, unbearable things. Even when we desperately want these times to be beautiful, they often are not.
In this space between birth and death, we tend to dig our heels into the Earth, putting hope in painless days and perfect health, often forgetting that our breath is temporary. When we’re gazing longingly at the temporal, we’re left shocked when daddies die just before Christmas.
I don’t want tears to fall when I’m told I should be full of joy, but there I was, and here I am, with tear-stained cheeks.
Every tear will be wiped away.
We grieve here on this side of heaven; we weep much and often. As we shed our tears, we wait for another place, another time, and another day when we will experience joy every day, not just once a year.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Friend, I don’t know if you’re like me this Christmas season, where grief sits closely next to joy. But if you are, I pray you will find comfort in the ministry of tears that is ours only here. We live in a sacred space of in-between where unexplainable joy sits down next to unimaginable pain. Where we have the beautiful ability to express how much we have loved and how deeply we are hurting.
Only on this Earth are we blessed with the stewardship of grief and tears. Because in the world to come, there will be no pain, sorrow, or tears. And, like all things given to us here, we must steward them well.
Too often, we stifle our tears or are ashamed of them instead of honoring them and their purpose. After all, they stem from a place where we express our feelings more effectively through our eyes than our mouths.
What more excellent gift can we give than to weep with the one who weeps? When loss and pain are unimaginable, tears speak a language of love where words are lacking. Our falling tears collide with another’s pain in a way that nothing else can. They are beautiful, glistening reminders that not only will He one day wipe them away but also that they are kept and counted while we wait.
It is a ministry, these tears that fall.
The keeper and wiper of tears
Whether you find yourself shedding tears of grief or joy—or maybe both—this holiday season, may you remember the keeper and wiper of every one of them.
Jesus shared deeply in the ministry of tears while he walked this Earth. His weeping was not concealed and is mentioned in several places:
By a grave.
Over a city.
And before his journey to the cross.
I am encouraged that Jesus cried. I don’t believe there is a more excellent show of His humanity than in the shedding of tears. It is no small thing that the Holy Spirit chose to share the moments of Jesus’ vulnerability through the hands of men who walked alongside Him.
Crying can have a negative connotation, causing us to feel weak and vulnerable. So, when we see the God of the universe shed tears, we internalize the value. Who are we to stifle our tears when our savior didn’t? After all, we must first shed a tear to rejoice in the hope that He will wipe them all away.
We must feel our pain here before it can be taken from us forever there.
If this season of life finds you with more sorrow than joy and weeping than laughing, let your tears stand as a reminder of their necessity. This is a sacred place where you now stand because it is the only time you will stand here. A better place awaits, and a better time where our tears will no longer fall.
So, in the meantime, know that each tear serves a purpose, and your creator’s glorious hand will one day wipe each one away.
And remember, the fact that He specifically mentions our tears confirms they are invaluable to Him. Friend, He sees and embraces you, and your tears hold more worth than you can imagine.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,