Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When Christmas Turns Bittersweet

My sister and I entered a local yogurt shop where I spotted a woman I knew as the mother of a special college girl who worked in an area I supervised in that other life I had as a buyer in the fashion industry.

I could tell that she didn’t recognize me, and I wrestled a moment about whether I should reintroduce myself, but instead my sister and I moved along, bought our yogurt, and took our seats.

For some reason, this woman had to return to the counter, and as she passed by our table, I felt compelled to tell her who I was.

I won’t share our actual conversation, but I’ll tell you this, I felt our exchange was a divine appointment.

You see, fifteen years ago, that beautiful college student had become a young woman with a husband and two small children. Just in her thirties, she died from a serious illness.

Her mother had that day purchased an advent wreath in her daughter’s memory and placed it in their church. All the bittersweet memories flooded back in, and she now felt alone with those thoughts.

But in God’s providence, I had the privilege of remembering with her that bright lovely soul that was her daughter and reminding her that she was not forgotten.

Right there in the yogurt shop, my sister and I saw pictures of her handsome grandsons and we hugged, exchanged lives, and she was no longer alone.

So when I read these verses, I nodded.

“…but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

This past Sunday, we lit the candle of hope on our Advent wreath, and gave thanks that God’s promises are true. Just as surely as He came as a man two thousand years ago, He’ll come again in final victory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Until then, we’ll encourage, love, and extend the same comfort with which we, too, have been comforted.

Because when Christmas turns bittersweet, we really need each other. 

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