As Christmas quickly falls open us, I cannot help but be ready for the beginning of a new year too. 2018 has been a year of deep grief. Too many friends lost way too early and way too unexpectedly. My heart still hurts.
Grief comes and goes. It flows gently and then the next moment, it overflows onto the banks. Grief comes in an unexpected song, in a broken pair of sunglasses, and in so many other ways. This year has been a year of deep deep grief and I am so ready for a new year to begin.
But as I reflect on this past year, I cannot help but think of the reminders of resurrection hope and joy that come through the many children in my life. I will never forget sitting and reminiscing with friends at Ben’s viewing while his daughter laughed and played like any two year old should. I also can still see her asleep on her mom’s shoulder until the pastor began speaking the word’s of institution.
Months later, I see Jim’s grandchildren playing and even remembering things their dear grandfather taught them. Toby proclaiming proudly to his Grandma Leslye “Grandma, I’m holding the football like Grandpa Jim taught me. See.”
These are just a few examples of joy embodied even in the midst of grief. I keep coming back to one of my favorite verses from Scripture Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Joy does come! It’s just sometimes it is so hard to see that joy in the midst of death and grief.
God raised Jesus from the grave and reminds us of God’s power in the world. Grief and death do not have the last word. Life does! “Easter says you can put death in the grave but it won’t stay there (Clarence W. Hall).”
In the midst of grief, I ask Christ to stir up power in me; to give me the strength to still live. Stir up power so that we can share joy even in the midst of grief. Stir up your power in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was born to bring joy in the midst of sorrow, hope in the midst of despair, and light in the midst of the darkness. Jesus is life given for all to see.
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room.”