Advent has begun, the time of the Church year where we "prepare for His arrival". On Sunday, we reflected on the shoot that comes from the stump of Jesse. Yet the readers of Isaiah had to wait 750 years before the fulfillment of that prophecy. Sometimes waiting in the Kingdom of God requires a lot of patience, but it always soon ends in joy.
It was 2 years ago on that early December morning that I received the call to get to the hospital ASAP because my 21 month old niece had stop breathing in the night. I remember racing with my wife to the hospital with one singular thought, I wanted to get my hands on that child and raise her. My only thought in that moment was that its what our Gospel is all about, new life. When we got into the room w/ Becky still holding Kate I became overtly aware that a resurrection was not to be. As I stroked Kate's hair I found myself praying words of Thanksgiving to a God who created us out of dust. A resurrection in the way I had hoped was not to be and we were left with an overwhelming sense of grief and loss.
There has been an amazing amount of healing and beauty as we as a family and a church communiy have grieved and mourned these past couple years, but it will always be a part of my Advent reflections. It is Kate's death why Jesus came. It is Chad's death of why Jesus came. It is Jennifer and Mark Palmer's death as why Jesus came. He didn't leave us to death!! He showed up in our death, he came to our broken world and changed all the rules of death. The oppressive nature of death's finality has been abolished, completely dismantled. It no longer exists as a tyrant, Jesus brought a coup. And he didn't come with a frontal assault, he slipped in the backdoor in the middle of the night and brought a subversive Kingdom. I'm in awe of why Jesus came but in this Advent season I am unspeakingly grateful.
The sting of death is gone, it is now just a passage into deeper life. Kate, Chad, Mark and Jennifer have made that passage. I sometimes long to be where they are. But until then, I want to drink deeply from the fountain that flows from the manger under that Star. In times of deep disappointment I find hope in that light. Sometimes you have to wait, but I assure you, it will soon end in joy.
Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,