Death, Advent and Presence

This week has seen four people that my wife and I care very deeply about lose loved ones, with another person giving us the news that her 14 year old niece has had hospice called in her battle with terminal cancer. As a pastor you would think that maybe I would have an easier time than most dealing with death, for me at least that is not true. I tend to get drawn in to peoples lives and have a hard time separating mine from thiers, their joy becomes my joy and there pain my pain.

I have been pondering today death and Advent, usually when someone close to us dies around the holidays, we tend to look upon it as bad thing. I am sitting here today though thinking that it really doesn’t doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially at Advent when we are awaiting the coming of our Lord, celebrating his birth and the new life for us that it represents and at the same time remembering his second coming with all of its promises …

I at times have a hard time expressing exactly how I feel, I get choked up even trying to pray or carry on a conversation about someone who is close to me who is suffering, it is something that I  am in no way ashamed of, it is who I am.  I tell people all the time not to worry about finding or having the right thing to say, that your presence is what counts, being present is more important than you know.

A word comes to mind for me this time of year more frequently than at others; that word is Immanuel – God with us and that is what sustains me. God has been made himself known to us in the presence of his son and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His presence in our lives loses it significance when we fail both corporately ( as the church) and individually to be that presence in a world that and to people that desperately need him.

In the face of death we have the promise of his presence, in the face of death are we being that presence to others who are suffering?

So much more that can be said …

Longing for a community where these things can be more fully realized, but longing faithfully and slowly, knowing that these things take time.

Resting in his sweet embrace, have you allowed someone to rest in yours?