There are a few things that I wish I wasn’t good at. Like grieving in December. My paternal grandmother died the December of my freshman year at college. Eleven years later my father died in December, just six months before my wedding. In December 2010 my mother died and one year later my 29-year-old nephew Jim died.
The way I look at and experience Advent and Christmas and even death itself has changed in many ways. The colored lights and unnaturally cheery music blaring in nearly every public place is tempered by loss, the loss of those I’ve held dear. Sympathy cards received in the midst of jolly Christmas cards is a challenging reminder that death is very much a part of life. Singing Christmas carols in worship—once a cherished tradition—was almost impossible following each of my parents’ deaths.
God sent Jesus to this world to reconcile heaven and earth. Even as God came to us in the helpless, needy baby whose birth we celebrate, God knew that baby would one day die an unloved outcast. I can’t help but cling to the knowledge that God knows a depth of loss like those of us who mourn and meets us in that loss, offering comfort and assurance through the promises of the resurrection.
A version of this reflection was published as “Blessed are those who mourn,” on December 24, 2012, on the Women of the ELCA blog. It was written by Linda Post Bushkofsky. Today we remember John, apostle and evangelist.