Yikes, it's the first of December... 24 days til the big day and there so much left to do.
Anyone else feel like this??? Well today was the first of our holiday celebrations as we attended our first Christmas party, had our first visit with the big guy. But that really isn't the important part of today, is it?
It's the first Sunday of advent... time to prepare ourselves for the celebration of birth of Jesus and time to prepare ourselves for His second coming, for the time he will return as he promised he would. It's time to celebrate all that this amazing miracle gift that our Lord gave us is.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Now if that's not the greatest hope there is I don't know what is. It's only been in the last two years that I have realized how absolutely amazing the season of Christmas is. It has nothing to do with spending time with family and friends, showing others how much you love and appreciate them with gifts...but that is obvious. We so often hear that we need to remember 'the reason for the season' but how many really understand that reason??? I know I didn't. I knew we celebrated the birth of Jesus at Christmas. I knew the story of Mary and Joseph...heck I even remembered the story of Elizabeth, Zechariah and John the Baptist. I loved the story of the first Christmas and felt I understood what a miracle it was.
But I never realized until two years ago just how absolutely amazing this story is. Jesus was born to a woman who had never had 'marital relations' with a man. He was the son of God, not of man...but yet was as human as those he lived among. He came to teach the world about the love of God. He did this through stories, parables and miracle healing. He changed the way people thought, he made them consider what they did, what they valued, how they viewed themselves and others.
But more then that, he came to die. He was born to die. God brought his son into this world so that we, all of humanity, might have a future. He brought Jesus to the world to teach others of his love, to instruct and lead followers who could carry on after his son would face the death he knew would be his destiny. He brought his son into this world knowing the world would kill him. He brought his son into this world knowing that his son, Jesus, would be resurrected after death and that act in itself would show the love God had for all his children.
Eternal life is my hope. Jesus is my hope. It's as simple as that.
I will get into abit more of this later this week but I will share a 'story' of sorts about my hope for eternal life changing how I grieved, changing how I lived in grief.
When we began planning Cole's memorial service I reached out to my friends at Fetal Health, Lonnie and Tammy as well as a few others that assisted with grief support through them, to get help, suggestions, ideas of what to do to honour this life that ended much too soon. It was suggested I read a book by another TTTS mom who also lost one of her twins called A Place of Peace.
I remember very clearly sitting in my living room while Cameron slept him my arms and I read this book from cover to cover. As I neared the end I read how Jenny Hander, the author, had come to realize what she needed to do to move on, which for her was to look at her daughter's life as being one filled with innocence, devoid of pain and without the emotional, stressful and sometimes cruel impacts of our earthly life and to realize that going straight to paradise is such an amazing thing. And as I read this I was completely overcome with emotion, with joy and peace for my son and with fear for myself. Fear that I might not ever see him again because I wasn't living my life in a way that was honouring to God, in a way that would lead me to heaven. I dropped to my knees and I sobbed. I sobbed for all I had lost in losing my son but more then that, I sobbed for all I had lost in the way I had let grief run my life... the joy of my children, the love of my husband, family and friends. I realized that I was so self absorbed in my grief that I was shutting everyone, even God, out of my life. And so I told God how sorry I was and how much I wanted him in my life so that I would make it to heaven and see Cole again.
Back then it was all about seeing Cole again. Heaven was an awesome place, a place I wanted to live in a way as to get there but it never really occurred to me then that Heaven wasn't just about the people who had gone before me but it was about THE ONE who had gone before me...and the reason I might get to go at all.
Jesus gave me a renewed sense of life. He walked beside me the whole time but once I knew he was there, once I invited him into my heart, he lifted me up and pushed more forwards. He made me realize that there IS hope in death because death is just an end our earthly lives, it's the beginning of our eternal lives.
I found hope in Jesus...I find hope in Jesus.