The call was unexpected yet anticipated and delivered the sad news of the loss of my wife's dad. She was at school, so I went to the school to tell her. He had heart surgery in September and began the road to recovery, but in October he began to grow weak and have some problems. People were gracious in their expression of sympathy and condolences, but I was struck that even those who are "in the church" said, "What a sad time of year for this to happen."
Dad (after 38 years, I began to call him that) had lived a full life filled with love, family, laughter, cards, baseball (the St. Louis Cardinals to be specific), service to his country, bowling, golf, and a host of other items for enjoyment. He worked for Rawlings and was close to the sports' business, and then went to work for a sports' supplier in Dallas when Rawlings moved. He worked until September when he took a leave for the surgery. Indeed, he was active for an 87-year-old man, yet his witness was his love of his church which he faithfully attended over the course of his joining it back in the late 1950s or so.
So, I'm struck as to why this is a "sad time of year" to lose a loved one? This is the time of year that the promise is fulfilled. "And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said, 'Fear not, for behold, I give you good tidings of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'" (Luke 2:8 - 11)
In death there is loss, and that loss fills an earthly void, especially if you were accustomed to spending time with a person such as a loved one. Yet our faith tells us that this is a short-term arrangement. The void is filled with a promise of a savior born long ago who brings our salvation to us through his suffering, death, and resurrection. "...for in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God." (Galatians 3:26) This salvation given to us from Christ is the promise we receive at this time of year. What better message to hear than the promise fulfilled?
In Advent, we are reminded that Christ will return. Our joy is in the promise that our faith provides in the baby Jesus and in the risen Christ.
Hope Men's Ministry