Advent and Christmas invite us into an understanding of the fullness of grief and of life itself. After all, Jesus was born into the same world that we live in. It is the world where Mary is told “do not be afraid” yet is forced to travel across the desert to give birth. Herod orders the slaughter of innocent children. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are honored by kings and then become refugees.
In our world, babies are born and loved ones die, and we welcome relatives into our homes, sometimes unannounced, with whom we have complicated, sometimes grief-filled relationships. Our world contains all of these moments at the same time, throughout the year. This understanding has helped me to navigate grief during Advent and Christmas.
In the midst of celebration, there is room for mourning. The grief over my husband’s death is always with me. Over time I have learned to be present with it. In the midst of jubilation, there is also death, grief and mourning. There is a place for all of it.
This message is excerpted from “One will be left” by Kristin Glass Perez in the December 2019 Gather magazine. Today is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.
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