1 Thessalonians 5:8 – Let us who live in the light keep sober, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the happy hope of salvation. (TLB)
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. It is the start of the season most Christians look forward to all year. For me, it is a bittersweet day and a bittersweet season. November 27th is the anniversary of my late husband's birth, and once again, I find myself feeling sad.
"Extreme sorrow often walks hand in hand with extreme joy," is an ancient Chinese proverb. Its meaning became reality for me in December 1999. Mixed with the joys of the Advent season was the realization that my husband of 40 years was nearing the end of his life. He was losing his 18-month battle with cancer. On Christmas Day, he went into a coma. He never spoke to me again. Three days later, he went home to be with the Lord. His body was laid to rest on New Year's Eve. Extreme joy had truly walked hand in hand with extreme sorrow that Advent season.
The new Millennium had arrived, and I found myself utterly alone. How could I go on? During those awful first days of grief, I wanted to give up; but the message of Christmas is the message of the fulfillment of God's promise of hope. Our hope, our salvation, was found lying in a Bethlehem manger. Placing my trust in a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes who became our Lord and Saviour gave me the strength to go on.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, wrap Your loving arms around all of us this Advent season, but give a special hug to those of us who find our sorrow walks hand in hand with our joy. Strengthen our faith that we might know it is all right to be weak and to lean on Your Son, who protects us with faith and love, and clothes us in our helmet of happy hope and salvation. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.