HOPE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR GRIEF
Thursday, December 1st
Mourning: the act of sorrowing
Morning: dawn; the time from sunrise to noon; a period of first development; beginning
This year, several of our friends will be spending their first holidays without a loved one. Many of us will continue to miss someone special every year. Our grief would be even more unbearable without the hope of an eternal reunion one day! This is another gift of our Advent Hope: through the words and resurrection of Jesus, God promises that we will one day live together in love and joy for all of eternity.
In the days before his death, Jesus tells his disciples,
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3 NRSVUE)
Our mourning will one day turn into morning, the dawning of a new day, a new beginning!
But while we wait in hope for that glorious time, what else might we do to honor our loved ones and ease our grief?
We look to the Advent Hope we find in the way we have experienced Jesus.
~ We are able to know and love Jesus today because his stories have been shared with us, and especially because his spirit remains with us.
We can do the same with the dear ones we are missing. We can recognize and pass along their gifts and stories that remain with us. How did these loved ones forever change our hearts? What lessons did they teach us, what insights did they give us? What are our favorite memories, our tales to recall and reshare? How do we feel their presence with us today? We can cherish and hold their eternal presence with fond gratitude.
~ We can remember, honor, and exemplify Jesus today through our lives of loving service.
And we can do the same for our beloved saints. Today can be a new morning, a new beginning, as we choose to embrace the endearing qualities of our loved ones, carry their spirit with us, and live each day fully and gratefully. In our love for Jesus, we try to live as he would have us live; how would our loved ones want us to live? How might we continue their goodness through our own loving service? Which of their qualities do we want to embrace and emulate? The lives of our loved ones are now eternally new, and we can honor them by living ours in their light.
There will always be a resurrection. There will always be the dawning of a new day. The Advent Hope given to us through Jesus – gifts of eternal presence and fresh beginnings – can gently transform our grief from mourning into morning.