Monday, December 20, 2010

Grief at Christmas

I've been thinking alot about grief lately. I think that's common during the holidays. It's been hard not to think about it. Several people I know have lost someone close to them recently. And, it's that time of year when we all become nostalgic for years gone by and remember those who are no longer here.

One of my closest friends lost a friend and mentor. I've cried over the loss he and his wife feel. The tragic circumstances of his death have given me great pause. Life is so fragile. We forget that sometimes.

My sister-in-law lost her Uncle J last week. He was like a Grandfather to her. As I joined her and her family in their grief, there was peace in knowing he was in a better place. And, extra joy in knowing that he was joining his beloved sister, Olga, and getting to tell her all about the great-granddaughter she had prayed for and loved before she was even conceived.

My pastor's wife is saying goodbye to her mother right now. I can't even imagine a moment like that. I've always dreaded the day that I would have to say my last goodbyes to my parents. My heart is breaking for Jeanne and the rest of her family as they face that reality.

And, there are so many others who are grieving fresh losses or remembering and grieving the loss of so many who've gone before us. Sometimes the grief catches me off-guard. Yesterday, during Ansley's first birthday party, she was given a little white rocking chair. When Daniel put her in it, she kicked her right leg up over the arm rest and started rocking. He looked at me, almost in disbelief, and said "She's rocking just how Great-Nana used to rock!". And, it was true. And, it made me remember and miss her. It's funny what things can kick off a memory.

And, sadly, grief isn't always because of physical death. There is grief over broken relationships, grief over sin, grief over missed opportunities. There are so many things that grieve our spirits and make us long for a better time and place.

As I pray for those who are grieving, and indeed grieve with them, I am reminded that there is hope.

Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be more more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." - Revelation 21:1-4

I'm looking forward to that day.

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