By Pastor Ted Jungkuntz

During Byron’s illness, one of the ways I’ve tried to support him and his family is through letters written by hand on my yellow legal pad. It’s old fashioned, I know, but it’s how I think best.

When I heard the word on Sunday that the family was gathering and death was close at hand, I decided to write one last letter, not knowing how long Byron might still be with us. Monday afternoon as I was finishing the letter, I heard the word from my daughter that Byron is now with the Lord, so now I’m sharing it with you.

Dear Byron, Michell, and Family,

Yup! It’s November – days are getting shorter, darker, colder, windier, and for many of us, “depressinger.” But as you all know, that’s only part of the story. Advent is almost here and many Christians begin their custom of lighting the candles of the Advent Wreath. Christmas trees appear with lights in the hundreds and the calendar announces the first day of winter and that means the days once again begin getting longer.

All this is but a regular reminder from nature and culture of an historical event that changes and redefines our lives. Yes, we’re all headed for death, but Jesus entered history (and nature, and culture) to transform it all with meaning, and purpose, and direction, and fulfillment, and life, and light, and VICTORY.

We’re moving through and out of the “great tribulation” and into a home homier than any home we’ve ever known and more real than any reality we’ve ever experienced and can even imagine.

God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is that reality. We have walked by faith in that reality, grounded in the Word spoken to us in Jesus. God has spoken that Jesus Word to us personally in our Baptism and at his Table. And he certainly has spoken it to you, Bryon. We both sadly (for us) and joyfully (for you) release you to your inheritance!