Saturday, December 28, 2013

As Christmas Departs

After a pleasant afternoon of running errands, Mr. A and I finished the last two slices of the pecan pie baked and served on Christmas Day.  We had brunch this morning around 11, slices of Christmas ham and scrambled eggs. Dinner was around 4 P.M. at Crystal River Seafood, so pecan pie seemed the logical choice for our third meal of the day.  

One of the errands was due to our cat, Ashley, who did something rather unpleasant on our bedspread,

Yes, Ashley, hide your face in shame!
so we pretreated the stains at home, then traipsed to a laundromat to use a front loading washer so as not to overwhelm our rather ancient one.  We hadn't made it but a few feet away from the vehicle and Mr. A was hit up for a "donation" to help someone with gas money.  He gave in good faith and one can only hope it was not misused.  

The modern washers tell how long the cycle is, so we had time to run to Harbor Freight instead of staying there and watching the soaps.  After collecting our wet bedspread to dry at home, I have a little more faith in the dryer than the washer, we had our late lunch/early dinner, then it was on to Hallmark to get Christmas cards half price for next year.  

I'm putting faith in celebrating a next Christmas, but the reality is, one never knows. 

While at Crystal River, I saw a classmate of my mother's, Valdosta High School Class of '51, whose son died on December 10th.  The longer I live, the more I realize why people often add, "the good Lord willing" when they speak of their future intentions.  My mother's classmate spoke of her loss with dignity and courage, adding one bit of information that made me smile in a very sad moment, "He was a Christian."  

Here we are winding down from a season of celebrating Christ's birth, but the sobering fact is His birth had a deliberate purpose--His death--to atone for the sins of mankind.  To hear this man had made the decision to believe and receive Christ's provision for eternity in heaven was very good news. 

It doesn't change the fact that his mother must live with this loss the rest of her natural life, but having the promise of seeing him again in heaven is surely of some consolation.  I said to her losing a child is something a parent should never experience and life is sometimes unfair.  It's hard to know exactly what to say in this circumstance.  The Word of God has something more comforting to say:   

Psalm 34:18
New International Version (NIV) 
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Some might ask where God is in this situation, this brave woman did not, but believers have been told exactly where He is, close to the brokenhearted.  

The New Living Translation of Psalm 56:8 tells us 

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

I have wondered if the River of Life which proceeds from the throne of God in the new heaven might be supplied by our tears shed on earth.  Since the Lord collected them, are they redeemed to something beautiful?--in a place where there'll be no more tears to stream from our eyes, no more sorrow, sickness or pain!  

I hugged this sweet woman and her husband, her son's stepfather, and was on my way with yet another reminder not to take this life for granted.  

When my husband and I got home, before the pie, I puttered about, recorded new addresses in the Christmas card book I keep, put away boxes, bows and even tags I plan to reuse next year, the good Lord willing.

And if the Lord in His Sovereignty calls me home between now and then, I share the same hope of eternity in heaven as the man who preceded his mother in death.  I thought of Mary, a lady of sorrows, as she watched the brutality of her Son's crucifixion.  

At the first Christmas there were heavenly shouts of joy to the Lord, and at His death there were battles in the heavenlies where the enemy and his minions were made an unsightly spectacle, then the most remarkable victory in the resurrection three days later, with a promise of our own as well.  Death was defeated!  

We don't often think of the two most significant events in Christ's life together as we celebrate the individual holidays, His birth and His death and subsequent resurrection, but today, learning of a friend's loss so close to Christmas, I am reminded of how intimately the two are intertwined.  

Rest in peace Richard Crancie Taylor.