When we can’t let go of the past season but choose to embrace the next one, because it’s upon us, whether we want it or not.
We find ourselves experiencing sort of a reverse advent season. We’re counting down the days until we lose our son, yet longing more fervently than ever for the coming of the Messiah.
It’s one thing to experience a loss, it’s another thing entirely to plan for a loss.
Essentially, we’ve entered the hospice equivalent of foster care.
And loss always drives us to hold on to something.
We hold on to memories. When a loved one dies, we often remember by telling stories. We gather with loved ones, flipping through pages of old photo albums, reliving beautiful times. Smiling, laughing, crying, remembering.
We hold on to tangible items. My grandmother loved to cook. She also loved the color red. Much of her red cookware now lives in my kitchen, and when I bake bread in her Dutch oven or serve chicken pot pies in her Le Creuset dishes, the tangible items help me remember her.
We hold on to other people. No one really likes to be alone. We are created in community, for community. Grief pulls us closer together. Even before a loss occurs, we hold on to each other.
We hold on to Jesus. Strip everything else away. Even so, He is enough.
My hope is that looking back on this season weeks, months, years from now, we’ll be able to not only say that we held on to hope by clinging to Jesus, but that we’ll also remember how He held onto us. That we didn’t walk through it alone. That others will not point to our strength, our endurance, or even our smiling faces, because honestly, all those are gone.
There isn’t a category for the pain we’re experiencing now, but there is someone who feels it with us. Losing a son compels you to talk with Someone who has also lost a son.
Advent takes on a new meaning this year – for the first time we are experiencing it not with the expectancy of receiving a son, but through our Father’s eyes of sending a son into a hurting world. May we look back on this season and in His strength, say that it’s not about our pain, our loss, but what He did with it once we placed it in His hands.
Hold us, Jesus.