Christians talk and sing about how God turns mourning into dancing. That’s great! But before we start the party, let’s consider the mourning that happens first. And how much of it happens during Christmas.
Chances are, there is at least one person listening to you on the radio, one of your online friends, a co-worker, or a family member who is mourning today. They hear “Joy to the World”, but feel like the joy in their heart is gone. “Rocking around the Christmas Tree” comes on, but they’re not dancing to it anymore. Lamentations 5:15 says “The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning.”
It doesn’t help that all they hear is “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!” Cheer up! “It’s the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!” There is nothing holly, jolly or wonderful about mourning. It’s not even a “Blue Christmas”. Mourning is stronger than the “blues”. You might feel blue that your friend couldn’t visit this year. There’s always next year. Those mourning need us, the DJ they hear on the radio, their friend, to dig deeper. Otherwise, our offering of hope might seem superficial or even fake.
A person who mourns may be in distress. Think desperate need or physical pain. They may have gone through a disaster and have no idea when they’ll be “back on their feet”. They may have hoped for the best, but found an unfortunate outcome. They may be suffering, or helplessly watching their loved ones suffering. What can we say that’s not a downer, or a sermon, but brings at least a sliver of hope? Then maybe we could build up that hope little by little.
“I’ll start over with you, build you up again and you will be rebuilt. You’ll resume your singing … and join in the dance.” (Jeremiah 31:4 NIV and The Message)
When you work on show prep, meet with your programming team, brainstorm with your creative peeps and interact with listeners on the street, don’t just “Merry Christmas” it and call it a day. Let’s help our friends know God can start over with them. He can build them up again. They’ll be rebuilt! And they’ll resume their singing and rock around the Christmas tree. They might wake up on Christmas mourning, but hopefully God will use your voice and mine to remind them of hope.