How do you celebrate Christmas when your loved one is in heaven?
Some days, it may not seem possible. Other days you might find that all you want to do is to think of your loved one spending Christmas in heaven with Jesus. For Christians mourning the loss of a loved one, that is the most comforting thought of all.
Below we’ve gathered and even invented some truly meaningful Christmas memorial ideas. These poems, ornaments, and tributes can help your honor the memory of a loved one who is in heaven.
This holiday season, start a new tradition, create a special Christmas memorial ornament, or sit back with a mug of cocoa and enjoy reading some heaven-centered poems and quotes.
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Is There Christmas in Heaven?
First, though, let’s think about what the Bible actually says about Christmas and our departed loved ones.
1. To be in heaven, you must believe in Jesus
To be in heaven – where Jesus is – you must believe in Jesus.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.John 3:36
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”John 3:3
If you’re not sure what it means to ‘believe in the Son’ or be ‘born again’, here is an excellent summary of this good news, which we call the Gospel.
2. Those who died believing in Jesus are in heaven right now
Those who have died trusting in the work of Christ on the cross are in heaven right now. That’s something to rejoice in!
We know this because Jesus, as he was dying, told the thief on the cross who believed in him that, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
While our loved ones are not in heaven as it will finally be at the end of the age (Revelation 21), they are in what theologians call “intermediate heaven,” or as Randy Alcorn more helpfully puts it, “present heaven.”
3. Heaven is a real, physical place
Jesus, in his resurrected body, is in heaven. So we know that there is a physical aspect to the present heaven where our loved ones go to be with the Lord. The eternal heaven is a real, physical place, and present heaven is similar in many ways.
But, since Christians will not have unblemished physical bodies until the resurrection (Philippians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 15:52, Revelation 20:4-5), it is unclear what form God gives our loved ones right now. The Bible simply doesn’t answer the question.
However, there’s a good chance that they do have physical bodies. We know that Moses (who died) and Elijah (who was taken into heaven in his earthly body) appeared bodily with Jesus at the transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).
The point is that heaven is a real place and not simply an idea. All who have faith in Christ go there (in some manner) immediately when they die, and are awake and conscious (Philippians 1:21-23, Revelation 6:9-11, also see here).
While the eternal heaven will be the best of all, the present heaven is still truly “paradise” because Jesus is there.
4. We will celebrate Christmas (the incarnation) in heaven
In heaven, we will celebrate the great works of God:
And I saw… those who had been victorious… They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,Revelation 15:2-3
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.”
Track with me here: If we will sing of (and celebrate!) God’s deeds and ways, well, what is greater than God’s great work of salvation through Jesus? And how could that happen except for the incarnation?
Christmas is simply the name for the church’s celebration of Jesus’ incarnation. So as we recount God’s wonderful deeds in heaven, we will surely rejoice greatly for Christmas.
5. We will celebrate one another in heaven
We know that the angels in heaven rejoice when even one person repents (Luke 15:10), and since our loved ones will be there and conscious as well, it would follow that they would be able to see us, celebrating our triumphs (Luke 15:10) just as they can grieve over tragedy (Revelation 6:9-11).
So, do our loved ones celebrate Christmas in heaven, hear our “Merry Christmas” wishes, and wish us a Merry Christmas in return?
I believe the Bible gives us the grounds to say, Yes. They do.
Of course we must understand that this isn’t about sentimental fuzzies but rather worship of the King of Universe, our Great Redeemer. And our loved ones in heaven are not (necessarily) baking Christmas cookies, decorating a tree, and listening to Frank Sinatra crooning old carols.*
*There’s actually pretty good reason to believe that at least some of this world’s culture will exist in heaven. See Revelation 21:24 and this article. So…. maybe there *is* some cookie baking in heaven?
Whether those specific things happen or not, the reality is far greater: Our loved ones in heaven are celebrating the One whom Christmas is all about, and they are celebrating it in His presence.
I hope that thinking through these things strengthens your faith, increases your anticipation for heaven, and comforts your grieving heart as you remember your departed loved one. As Paul says when talking about death and the resurrection, “Encourage one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13)
So now let’s take a look at some poems, memorial ideas, ornaments, and more to wish a very merry Christmas in heaven to those you love.
Christmas in Heaven Poems
Merry Christmas in Heaven
This poem can be sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.
Oh, Merry Christmas, heav’nly one
We love and miss you so!
This time of year – Yuletide begun –
We mourn you here below
In heaven our loved ones celebrate
The Christ, Incarnate Lord
Their songs of praise anticipate
When we join in accord
So, Merry Christmas in heaven
Oh! Merry Christmas, dear!
Where’er our Savior has his kin
He wipes away the tear
Thus in this season we rejoiceDaniel Szczesniak
And remember every year:
We’ll see you when we hear his voice
So we spread the Advent cheer
First Christmas in Heaven Poem
The frost of Christmas seems so cold
This year, the first that you’re not here.
Our decorations, new and old,
Appear (but seem like a veneer)
And the house is filled with music
To trick me into thinking you’re near.
It’s your first Christmas in heaven.
It’s my first Christmas without you.
What you see now is hope fulfilled,
I take comfort knowing this is true.
You’re with Jesus now; yet here am I
This year, the first that you’re not here.
The holidays keep rushing by
To merely pass, and disappear
Yet my hope – small though it may be –
Prompts me to flee to my Savior dear.
You rejoice with Christ in heaven.Daniel Szczesniak
I rejoice as I mourn for you.
What you see now is hope fulfilled,
I take comfort knowing this is true.
Related: First Christmas Without a Loved One: Navigating Grief & the Holidays
Although It’s Sad to Reminisce
This sweet, simple poem acknowledges the sadness of Christmas without your loved one, but invites you to celebrate the holidays in that person’s cherished memory.
It’s a memorial poem that can be read meaningfully by just about anyone. For Christians, we can appreciate the lessons of faith we gleaned from our departed loved ones, and remember that yes, Christmas is primarily about Christ but also to appreciate the good gifts we’ve received, like family and friends. And we look forward to meeting again in heaven.
Although it’s sad to reminisce
On Christmases we knew,
This year I shall celebrate
In memory of you.
I’ll put aside my sorrow
With every unshed tear,
And concentrate on all the joy
We shared when you were here.
Our time together taught meAuthor unknown
What Christmas time is for,
And that’s what I’ll remember
Until we meet once more.
Sing With All the Saints in Glory (Hymn)
This hymn from 1873 begins by inviting us to sing along with our loved ones in heaven (“all the saints in glory”) to praise the resurrected Lord. While the main theme is Christ’s triumph over death, the closing line directs our thoughts to Christmas, when the Son of God was sent down to the earth to redeem us.
So in this hymn we “sing with all the saints in glory” (first line) to worship “Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (last line). It’s an invitation to celebrate Christmas in heaven and on earth.
Sing with all the saints in glory,
Sing the resurrection song!
Death and sorrow, earth’s dark story,
To the former days belong.
All around the clouds are breaking,
Soon the storms of time shall cease;
In God’s likeness we awaken,
Knowing everlasting peace.
O what glory, far exceeding
All that eye has yet perceived!
Holiest hearts, for ages pleading,
Never that full joy conceived.
God has promised, Christ prepares it,
There on high our welcome waits.
Ev’ry humble spirit shares it;
Christ has passed the eternal gates.
Life eternal! heav’n rejoices:
Jesus lives who once was dead.
Shout with joy, O deathless voices!
Child of God, lift up your head!
Patriarchs from distant ages,
Saints all longing for their heav’n,
Prophets, psalmists, seers, and sages,
All await the glory giv’n.
Life eternal! O what wondersWilliam J. Irons
Crowd on faith; what joy unknown,
When, amid earth’s closing thunders,
Saints shall stand before the throne!
Oh, to enter that bright portal,
See that glowing firmament,
Know, with you, O God immortal,
Jesus Christ whom you have sent!
Merry Christmas in Heaven
Wishing your loved one a very merry Christmas in heaven.
- I’m lighting a Christmas candle for you.
- I thank God that you free from all the troubles of this world, and living face to face in the light of Christ. Merry Christmas in heaven, my dear!
- We’ll set you a place at the table every Christmas, all the while knowing that your place at the Lord’s table must be much more glorious.
- I miss you so much, especially at Christmas. But knowing that you’re celebrating with all of our loved ones who have gone before me, too, brings me great comfort. Merry Christmas to all of you, love.
- How marvelous it must be to celebrate the birth of our Lord in His very Presence. Merry Christmas, darling.
Christmas in Heaven Quotes
Quotes can offer us hope when we need it the most. Especially when we are trying to celebrate the Christmas season knowing a loved one must do so in heaven.
- The shine of the star atop the tree reflects off the tears streaming down my face.
- I look to the manger for the hope for tomorrow – the reason I know I get to see you again one day.
- I know Christmas in heaven compares not to Christmas on earth…so maybe I’m just a little jealous.
- I want to wish you Merry Christmas in heaven, but it’s hard to do when I wish that you were still celebrating it here with me.
Merry Christmas from Heaven
What would your loved one say to you this holiday season?
- Merry Christmas, my love. If only you could see the glory that I get to see here…there is simply no comparison. Looking forward to the day when you can celebrate the season here with me.
- Jesus is truly the reason for the season; I can see it first-hand now…and let me tell you, it is all worth the wait. Take your time, of course. But I can’t wait for you to join me.
- It may be cliche, but I’ll say it anyway: Merry Christmas, wish you were here!
- I love it when you sing, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, because I know with every day that passes, it becomes more and more true. Love and miss you darling.
Merry Christmas from Heaven Poem
If only you could see what I see,
Maybe then you’d understand
How there can be no tears in heaven,
Only joy to no end
At Christmastime and beyond,
At night and during day
There’s only worship, song, and love
In the presence of Him who paved the way.
So don’t shed tears for me,
On Christmas or any time at all
‘Cause I’m looking forward to the day you that you join me
In this glorious heavenly hall.
Here there are angels harmonizing forever
More beautiful than any carol heard on earth
Here there is color more stunning than red, green
Or gold, or silver, and all they could be worth
Here there is a feast that never ends,
A table that never empties
Cups that constantly overflow with drink,
Mirth, merry and new mercies
Here there is the sign of things to be;
A passing away of the old
A sign of the New Jerusalem to come;
The promise of the future that will be.
So while you can’t see it, I have a front-row viewAubrey Bauer
Of Christ’s glory and all that He stands for:
He’ll wipe every tear away, life will be made anew
And death will be no more.
Christmas in Heaven Ornaments
Here are six of our favorite memorial ornaments to honor a loved one in heaven this holiday season.
1. Wooden Christmas in Heaven Rocking Chair Ornament
This popular Christmas in Heaven Ornament is made from wood in the traditional round shape. It includes a poem, a woodcut rocking chair representing the place they used to be, and their name and dates personalized across the bottom.
2. Angel Wing Photo Frame Memorial Ornament
When an ornament has space for a photo, angel wings, and reads, “Always in my Heart,” you know it’s the right one. Get yours here.
3. Because Someone We Love Is in Heaven Ornament
This earthy memorial ornament is crafted from a solid wood round, features a gorgeous red cardinal and heart, and reads:
Because someone we love is in Heaven
There’s a little bit of heaven in our home.
4. A Piece of My Heart Is in Heaven
This beautiful ornament emphasizes the angelic, heavenly aspect of losing your loved one, honoring the peace you have knowing they are in heaven.
5. Memorial Chair with Wreath Christmas Ornament
Their chair is empty, but your heart is full knowing that your loved one is in heaven. Here is a holiday ornament that symbolizes your loss and heaven’s gain.
6. Merry Christmas from Heaven Ornament
We couldn’t finish our list without a “merry Christmas from heaven” ornament. This one has the phrase, along with holly leaves and berries, surrounding a center plaque which features the lines from a beloved Christmas memorial poem.
More: 35 Most Beautiful Christmas Memorial Ornaments
How to Celebrate Christmas After Losing a Loved One
When it comes to dealing with grief, celebrating the holidays after the loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult things to navigate. It can help to be surrounded by family and friends, but it’s still going to be hard.
Here are a few ideas for the upcoming holiday season.
First Christmas Without a Loved One
The very first Christmas you spend without your loved one, who has never not been there at Christmas before, will perhaps be the hardest Christmas of all.
To help ease your grief on a day that should be joyful, here are a few quick tips:
- Write your loved one a Christmas letter. Writing/journaling can be one of the best things to relieve stress and work through our grief.
- Give yourself time and space to relax. That is easier said than done in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But something as small as a nap, a bubble bath, a Christmas movie snuggled up on the couch with your cat, can serve to provide you with a much-needed mental break.
- Create a memorial for your loved one in your home. Set them a place at the Christmas table. Place their picture in a photo ornament and place it on the tree. Little gestures like these go a long way in comforting and healing your heart.
- Say a special prayer just for them. Or, if you can’t find the words, just bow your head in silence and in quiet remembrance of them. God knows what’s in your heart and how much you miss them; you don’t even have to say it.
Holiday Memorial Traditions
As we mentioned above, memorial traditions (especially during the holiday season) can go a long way in providing comfort to you just when you need it the most.
Here are just a few more that may help you in your personal grief journey this Christmas and into the new year:
- Set aside a “Christmas in heaven chair” just for them. Don’t let anyone else sit in it! Consider the poem on this ornament as inspiration.
- Set them a place at the table, like we mentioned above. Complete it with place mat, fork and knife, napkin. Pour them a glass of wine or other spirit in their memory.
- Read something that they wrote themselves. Or write something special just for them, and read it aloud.
- Watch their favorite holiday movie. It will be all the more meaningful, and will “keep the tradition alive” in their memory.
- Listen to or sing their favorite Christmas songs. There will be certain ones that will get to you. That’s ok. These things remind you of how deeply your loved one impacted your life.
Read next: Celebrating Christmas in the Wake of Death