By Miriam Rossow
This Christmas was different. We had numerous gatherings and lots of laughter. We ate lots of traditional food: Christmas soup, Butterhorns, Bloody Mary’s, and Red Beans and Rice, ham and mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole.
There were plenty of presents and we listened to lots of Christmas music. There were many church services attended and enjoyed. And yet this Christmas was different.
My dad was not present. His death this summer meant we would celebrate, take pictures, and remember the coming Christ without him. I was amazed how the lack of his presence was noticed and felt, but did not overwhelm us. When we first got together and in the house the reality of missing him was amazing.
This Christmas was different.
We missed the laughter and hugs. We missed the Santa hat and Dad’s enjoyment in present giving. The TV was not on as much as in the past and the poker chips were not used for poker. I looked for him and expected him to come out of the bedroom or be sitting in the chair as I came down the stairs. It was a different sort of Christmas.
On Christmas Eve at St.Luke we walked through all of the O Antiphons. My favorite O Antiphon this year has to be O Dayspring. The image of living in the valley is so real to me as I go through this year of firsts without Dad. And honestly it is not just his death, but so much death and illness around me and in my life.
Since we moved to Michigan two years ago it has felt as though we have lived from one catastrophe to another. We have seen the death of two grandparents, one parent, and two highly respected and loved leaders of the congregation. We have had two car accidents and have experienced vacancy at the church. And these are really just the highlights!
All over our church members and friends have experienced pain, grief, loss, and illness. As I watch my FaceBook feed I am overwhelmed at the death and loss that friends from all around have felt.
Since we moved to Michigan two years ago it has felt as though we have lived from one catastrophe to another.
And yet there is hope and joy. I have hope and joy. Our two years here have had some wonderful happy highlights as well. We have enjoyed family gatherings. We were able to spend wonderful, special time with the saints who have gone before us. Many new friends have been made and the blessings of God can be seen from house to car to relationships!
The sun is rising on the valley. It shines light into the darkness and promises a hope that it will continue to rise and push away all the darkness.
We celebrated Christmas in the valley. We felt the grief of loss and yet we saw in the sky a light dawning. I know that even as I grieve there is a hope and a promise that the valley will be taken over with sunshine and the darkness and grief will be swept away in light.
Jesus will come again. Erocras–“Tomorrow I will come,” says Jesus. He is coming soon and until then He shines His light into the valley and brings joy and peace to the darkest places of my life and your life. I don’t know what 2015 will bring. I do know that the promise of Jesus is sure and continues no matter what life brings me.
He is coming soon and until then He shines His light into the valley and brings joy and peace to the darkest places of my life and your life.
So although this Christmas was different it was still filled with hope and joy. It was celebrated in the knowledge that the Jesus we were welcoming again into the world is coming back and the dawn has broken.