Remembering lost loved ones at Christmas
By Dr. Rance Thomas
Having spent Christmas with my unofficial adopted family of eight that includes a mother, father, a daughter, her husband and two young children and a brother, I began to reflect on Christmas and the loss of loved ones.
This was the case because the father passed away three months ago, and his daughter asked me to write a few words as if they came from her father and put the note in a stocking on the Christmas tree. I did so by writing a few words for each of us as if they came from him, and it was read after Christmas breakfast and as expected a few tears were shed.
I would like to share the essence of the note. It began with” my dear loved ones.” I would just like to share some after Christmas thoughts with you, especially those who have lost loved ones recently. Although I am no longer with you physically, I am still with you spiritually and was with you on the most holy day of the year, Christmas. This day represented the day our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ was born.
I want to let you know that I am with you every day, in spite of being in heaven. Heaven is a greater place than you could even imagine. It is even greater than what we have been told and taught. It is a place where there is no more pain and suffering and all our needs are met and where everyone truly loves God with all their hearts, minds, and souls and loves one another as they do themselves. It is a place where everyone is with all their loved ones and friends who have gone on before them, and they have a warm, loving and wonderful everlasting relationship with one another.
Although you cannot see me physically now, you will see me one day when you come where I am. Then, we will be together forever and share our lives with one another forever. I am looking forward with great anticipation for that joyous day.
However, I want you to know that this cannot happen until you fulfill God’s plan for your life. You have to do whatever you can to complete God’s desire for you before you can join me in this glorious place. You will join me by doing what you can and while you can to help others and to make your community and the world better places. Remember that heaven is your permanent home with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God our Father. As we have been told, Jesus went on before us and prepared a place for us, and is waiting for you when you complete God’s purpose for your life.
I want to say goodbye for now to all of you, but I will never forget you or leave you. I will be with you forever in paradise. Do not forget that life is only for a brief period of time in comparison to eternity; therefore, use whatever gifts you have been given wisely and faithfully. I also want you to know that I love all of you and remember that I will be with you again for eternity in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Dr. Rance Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Sociology/Criminal Justice and co-founder and President of North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice.