This post was written by my wife, Carrie Kell
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
Today is December 21st. Does that mean anything to you?
Is it the day you got engaged? Or when your mom discovered she had cancer? Is it the day you had the surgery that changed your life? Or the day your child was born? Is it the day you lost a child? Is it a day of sadness? A day of joy?
Is it just another day on the calendar?
Every day has some significance for someone in the world. It might not be you, but it might be the person you are talking to in the grocery line. Or the one you just beeped your horn at and gave a “what is wrong with you!?!” look. Perhaps it is the person you just judged because they did something that seemed hateful. Or maybe it is you.
This will be the first December that my sister in law’s mom will be in heaven rather than at home with her family. Her birthday would have been this month as well. It brings a dark cloud over the holidays for my sister in law, and my heart breaks for her.
One of my best friends is celebrating her anniversary with her wonderful husband. God has worked masterfully in their marriage over the past 15 years in ways that are deeply encouraging. God has given them strength and they have been faithful to their vows.
I spoke with another close family friend today. As we talked, she shared how difficult December is for her. It is the month her mom died and also her late father’s birthday. It is also the month her sister stopped speaking with her. I didn’t know any of this was going on for her, and as she shared, I felt my compassion for her grow.
While some weep, others rejoice. And some of us do both at the same time.
A few years ago a friend picked up her phone and called her mother to share that she was pregnant. As she and her mother were celebrating the good news, her mother clicked over to receive an incoming call saying my friend’s father had just had a heart attack.
Rejoicing and weeping at the same time.
December 21st is one of those days.
My best friend from high school’s mother celebrates her birthday on the 21st. God has given her another year of life, and today they rejoice in that gift.
Today was also my father’s birthday. It has been four years since dad died. December 21st brings with it a flood of memories. I think about his life. I reflect on his death. I remember, with fondness the dad I knew when I was younger, and with sadness, the dad he became as I grew older. It’s a weird, heavy day.
My point in all this is that days mark us. Some of those marks are sweet, others are very sour. You can’t forget the dates in your life that have significance. You have to face them head on, because they actually keep coming back every year (except that Leap year situation, but whatever). God uses them as constant reminders of Him working in our lives. Sometimes that work is painful, sometimes enjoyable, but always for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
As John Piper once said, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” This true of us as individuals, but of all of us as people. Does it amaze you that God is always working so intricately in all of us—at the same time!?!
December 21 is always a little sad for me, sometimes more so than others, but there are many other dates on the calendar that are really sweet. I suppose this will continue the rest of the time God gives us on this earth. Next year I may have new dates that mean something.
What are your dates?
Today when you run into someone, just know this might be a really great day filled with sweet memories for them, or it might be a really hard day with sad memories. Ask God to help you be patient with people. Ask Him to help you see them the way He does. Ask God to help you show them love, as Jesus has shown love to you. Rejoice if they are rejoicing and weep if they are weeping.
In all of this, I am thankful for a Sovereign God who cares deeply about all of His people. He knows which dates mean something to each of us and He comforts us during the hard memories. He also knows which days bring us joy and stirs our hearts to praise Him for those.
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”