Pastor Nick Cleveland

Let’s face it. The Christmas season isn’t always easy. While the houses are decked out in bright lights trimmed with merry ribbons red and green, the feelings of Christmas can sometimes be blue. Sometimes Christmas stinks because it’s not so merry and bright.

I remember the first Christmas after my mom passed. The days and weeks leading up to it were so blah. As hard as I tried to dig deep in my soul and find the joy, I just couldn’t do it. As the day grew closer, my anticipation of how sad it would be increased with every passing minute… you see my mom LOVED Christmas.

As a matter of fact, she had this Christmas clock that played a carol on the hour, every hour and she kept it up all year round.  Just after 9am on the day she passed, surrounded by all our family, the chimes on that clock belted, ‘Joy to the World!’  We all cried and sort of laughed, but knew right then that Christmas would be hard and never the same.

And it hasn’t been the same. But 14 years later, I can say it’s a good different.  So many great memories have happened.  I’ve loved passing little Christmas traditions on to my children.  I also love telling them about how much my mom loved Christmas and especially about the meaning of Christmas – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, who is God with us.

Just this week I sat at our dining room table and for no reason and out of nowhere a flood of memories and emotion hit me. And then I smiled, because I know the healing that’s available in the Christ of Christmas. Sometimes Christmas hurts. It stinks. It’s not merry and bright, but rather blue and sad.

For those of you wrestling with grief, stress, broken relationships, or anything else this season know this, you are not alone.  I am praying for YOU today and will be throughout this entire Christmas season.  If you want to let us know how to pray for you, just email us at and we will pray for you today.  And when the moments of emotion hit you and your Christmas is anything but merry and bright here are some eternal reminders to decorate your heart with this Christmas:

He is with you:“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

He will help you:“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

He gives you life:“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

He gives you victory:“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

He gives you rest:“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

He can be trusted:“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

He can heal you:“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

He will restore it all:‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

He wants your heart:“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

He gives peace:“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

He is always with you: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

When your Christmas is blue remember it’s not Christmas, but Christ who makes it merry and bright. And Christ is with you!

Praying for you, Merry Christmas!

Pastor Nick


GRIEF SHARE is a group study designed to help find encouragement in the face of loss. Email us for more info about the next session.
Start a new Christmas tradition this year and come to a candle-lighting service this year at Grace Church. Choose a time and style that’s right for you and yours.
SUNDAY 12.23.18
10am    [Traditional and Contemporary]
MONDAY 12.24.18
4pm     [Traditional and Acoustic SMC]
6pm     [Traditional and Contemporary]
11pm    [Contemporary]