Reggie: That was about the most difficult memorial service I’ve ever attended. How do you find “good news” in a death like that?

Shari: The layers of sadness are beyond counting.

Reggie: And happening so close to Christmas. For another family Advent and Christmas will forever be a time of a painful memory.

Pause.

Shari: And yet, imagine if there was nothing to wait for, no promise of redemption, and things like this happened simply in the middle of a dead and empty winter. At this time every year for this family, Christmas will still be right around the corner, a reminder that hope has come.

Another pause.

Reggie: I did have to marry a better theologian than I am.

In the pastorate, sometimes we can be made to feel that the point of Christmas is to make people feel a happiness and experience a togetherness shaped more by wishful thinking than biblical hope.

Lord, give us grace to direct people to something larger, bolder, more satisfying, and more real. Deaths that make no sense are why he came. He came to die for those deaths. Hurts that cannot be borne alone are why his incarnation was permanent. He still lives among us. Things that cannot be fixed in this life are why he will come again. And fix them he will.