“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
Yesterday marked the 3rd Sunday in Advent. The week begins by lighting the pink candle, the candle for joy. We are told to rejoice always to give thanks in all circumstances. But Saturday marked the day Alexander would have turned ten months old. It is so hard to give thanks and rejoice when my baby isn’t with me. I was finishing up my Christmas shopping and wanted so badly to be buying presents for my ten month old little boy. I resisted going down the toy isle and looking through the baby section of the store. How can I prepare to celebrate Christmas with Joy when a piece of my heart is missing?
And yet there is so much to be thankful for and rejoice in when it comes to being Alexander’s mommy. My compassion and empathy for others has multiplied. My relationship with God has become more intimate. I’ve learned to take more time, time to listen, time to think, time to cry, time to remember, time to rejoice, time to observe, and time to cherish. I thank God for Alexander’s life and I am thankful for what has come from his death. His short beautiful life has taught so many people to cherish and love who they have all the more. We never know when a life will end.
But wait! Life doesn’t end with death anymore! That’s what we have to rejoice about at Christmas.
“That God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.”John 3:16
Wow! Knowing what it is to have a child die, to actually willing send my son to suffer on this earth that we humans messed up so horribly and then die for those same humans. If I was Jesus’ parent I’d tell him that we aren’t worth it. I guess that’s why I’m not God. It is so hard being stuck here on earth with our loved ones in heaven, but we can rejoice in the fact that they are alive.
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of saints; extend hospitality to others.” Romans 12: 9-13
Rejoice in Hope! I can do that. I can hold onto the Hope I have in Christ no matter what my future on earth may bring. I can have joy knowing that I will get to hold my son again and I won't have to say goodbye. And meanwhile I am patient in suffering and I persevere in prayer (or at least I try).