Friday, December 20, 2013

Empty Chairs

Christmas is such a wonderful time for friends and family.  It’s an amazing time of reflection and inspiration.  Not to make you sad, but it’s also a time when the suicide rates are highest.  Isn’t that sad?  The very holiday that we celebrate the birth of our Savior is a time when so many people give up.

Often the reason is due to empty chairs.

Chairs can be empty for a lot of reasons.  Family and friends are too busy to visit or come by.  In this day and age so much of our social life is done here – online.  It keeps us up to date on each other.  Keeps us connected mentally, but not physically.

Sometimes the weather is too bad, the distance too far, or the finances too limited and empty chairs are the result.  Those who can—come together, but little pieces of their heart dwell elsewhere with their missing loved ones.

Severed relationships can be another cause of empty chairs.  Maybe misunderstanding has taken place in your family or with your friends. Maybe friendships were ended because of hard feelings that couldn’t be resolved. Maybe you offended family members and in turn they put up walls.  A lot of folks tend to bear grudges, but no matter, the loss is there. 
Those empty chairs are truly daunting and painful.

And of course sickness often keeps our loved ones from coming together.  It’s hard to travel with a chemo IV in your arm or the need for dialysis. Sometimes it’s something as seemingly insignificant as an auto-immune disorder or migraines.  Which of course aren’t insignificant at all.

Lastly, we sadly endure empty chairs because of death.  Love ones have gone on to be with the Lord. For one reason or another – sickness, wars, accident, crimes, or even the above mentioned suicides . Those dear ones are beyond our reach-physically, but emotionally – mentally – spiritually their empty chair is devastating and we find ourselves mourning all over again.

Now lest you think I brought these reflections to make you sad or grief-stricken this holiday season – bear with me.  I have only mentioned these empty chairs because I know they exist in each and every house and someone – someone is hurting and feeling that they must surely be the only one in the world to feel such pain.  I want you to know – you aren’t alone.

We each have empty chairs and unspoken sorrows.  But what I found here among my sister authors and readers is the support and love that helps those chairs not seem quite so daunting – or empty – or hopeless.

So I write this blog with the desire that you know you aren’t alone and that you would be mindful of those empty chairs that others are enduring.  Reach out in love to each other and open your hearts and homes to those who may have nothing, but empty chairs.

And remember – there is coming a day when we will no longer have to worry about who will be at the table.  As that old hymn says, “When we all get to heaven – what a day of rejoicing that will be!”  Those who have given Jesus the place of honor in their hearts will be there, and since the Bible says there will be no sorrow or tears in heaven – we know that we will not grieve the empty chairs – because there are no empty chairs in heaven.

This Christmas remember why Jesus came. Give the gift of love—of encouragement by sharing  the Gospel, listening to a lonely soul, giving cookies to the needy.  Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord as the Bible says.  Help fill those place-settings and remember; He came as a babe in a manager to fill the empty chair in our heart. Celebrate His Birth.  Celebrate His love.

Merry Christmas

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