An Empty Seat on Christmas

I want you to consider your Christmas activities. For some of you, Christmas is a day filled with presents and joy, worshipping God, and visiting with loved ones.

Maybe you’ve saved for months to get your children that perfect gift. My wife is making me one of my favorite meals (lengua tacos) as a gift to me this Christmas. For some of you, it’s your first day off in a while and you need the rest.

Others of you are still out of work and suffering the effects of the COVID-19 situation, wishing they could earn money for their family. We are all in this together yet our experiences and perspectives are very different.

But at some point during the hustle of the season, you will sit around a meal table, pray thanksgiving to God for the food, and dine with those whom you love. This is good and appropriate. You should do this and feel no guilt for enjoying that experience.

But I want you to put yourself in some other folks’ shoes for a moment. Not as some guilt trip, but rather that you may “weep with those who weep.”

Put yourself in the shoes of folks who will have an empty seat at the dining table this Christmas:

  • Foster families who have recently had to turn their little one back to the State or back to an abuser.
  • Families that lost a loved one this year to death. Maybe it’s their first Christmas without dad or mom or some other close relative.
  • And a very real and current situation for a dear family to me, the Rios family, a family whose little daughter is missing for over a week now.

Think about how painful it is for some families to celebrate Christmas with that empty chair. A piece of their heart is missing as they meditate on the joy of the season. Tears of thanks to God for sending His Son gush out as tears of sadness overwhelm them while considering the empty chair at the table this Christmas.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. I am not saying you cannot enjoy your Christmas. If God has blessed you this Christmas season, enjoy EVERY bit of it. You ought to rejoice in His good gifts to you. And because you don’t have an empty chair you should rejoice all the more. Because it’s a gift from God to have peace at all in this world.

And for those with an empty chair, I want to encourage you that to are not alone. It may feel like you are. But God is with you and brothers and sisters throughout the world are suffering the same kinds of suffering. They, like God, have compassion for you. And let me exhort you that you are still expected to worship Christ even if tragedy has struck. He’s as worthy today in your pain and trial as He was when things were going your way.

So don’t despise one another. If you are one of the ones weeping, rejoice in the blessings your brother is receiving from God. If you’re rejoicing, take time to dwell with your sister who is under trial. And all you Christians, worship God in spirit and truth.

So this Christmas, consider helping the Rios family find their daughter Evelin. She’s a vibrant, sweet 13-year-old who’s been missing since Dec 15. The family has encountered large expenses trying to find her and have seven other kids to take care of as well. Pray for them and consider using this secure shop to donate money to aid them during this difficult season and to generally encourage them in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Click here to donate to the Rios family.

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