“Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.”
Christmas isn’t quite over for us. Our eldest daughter Kristin and her family will arrive tomorrow night and we’ll all gather to complete our Christmas festivities. I can picture the convivial chaos that Wednesday night will bring and I confess that I can’t wait!
On Thursday this week we will together experience the first anniversary of Becky’s death. I have a plan of sorts for how to navigate this day and evening, but I’m holding it lightly. I’ve never done this before . . . we’ve never done this before . . . and I’m not sure what to expect. I’m going to bring out all of our family photos and we will sort through them together in particular looking for Becky photos. I’m hopeful that with the photos will come a lifetime of memories and stories. The grandkids LOVE stories of ‘the old days’ and especially those stories that include their missing Mom and Aunt. I suspect there will be laughter and tears and memories triggering memories. Steve and I will deny some of them and the girls will deny others and we’ll laugh and cry and it will be good. I’m also going to bring down the storage container with the hundreds of cards we got after Becky’s death and the hundreds of prayer cards that our church family filled out and left in our home for us to find upon our return from Rosalia. I hope to record some of our story telling. I hope to pull from the photos and stories and in the end have enough to create a memory book devoted not just to Becky, but to Becky and ‘us’ — the ‘us’ that Becky’s life birthed and nurtured and still inspires today.
Our church observed Advent this year. On Christmas Sunday after we lit the Christ candle I was moved by the symbolism of the other candles, representing hope, peace, joy and love, burned down sufficiently to not distract from, but rather lend their light to, the primary light of the Christ candle. Because of air flow in our building it is necessary to replace candles frequently. It happened that the single pink candle representing joy had to be replaced on Christmas day. What I saw in that Advent ring is Christ as prominent with joy a close companion overshadowing everything else that hangs in time at Advent. Christ has come and He is coming again. We live in the middle, waiting and experiencing all that living implies, sheltering in the strength and beauty of Christ and basking in the light and warmth of joy. Lord – make our joy complete as You live in us and dwell in our midst. Enrich our celebration of Your coming tomorrow night and manifest Yourself and the reality of eternal life in You as we remember Becky in the next few days. I ask You today to make our experience of the first anniversary of her death more profoundly a celebration of her life and eternal life. Come quickly Jesus!
“To you, O LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalms 30:8-12