I want to write about peace. I want to write about the angels in the heavens and the light that shown down and the shepherds who watched their flocks that night.
I want to write about Advent. About getting caught up in the waiting and the reasons not the paper and the trimmings.
I want to write about the candles and the ceremony and the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes as she links the verse on the wall to the one the leaps off the page.
This is what I want. This is what I’ve been trying to write all week.
But I can’t.
Each day I’ve sat down in to write in this space and come up short. A few lines. A paragraph or two. But then the light runs out and there is nothing to share because there is so much sorrow.
We were friends in grade school. We used to climb the tree in her front yard and debate the value of carving our names. We roamed the field in the back, spying on the neighborhood boys and creating wild adventures of our own. We became amateur architects and spent hours drawing out the houses that we would one day build. Side by side, of course. Then we would fill them with our ten (yes 10!) children.
The dreams of a fourth grader are not easily vanquished.
But the hope of a mother can be.
As the relationship of girls often do-our friendship fluctuated and changed through the years. In high school we had a couple classes together, but we ran in different circles and our lives took different paths.
As adults the challenges of childhood fade away and a few years ago we ran into each other again, budding the friendship that was there before. As fate would have it, my brother and his family became her neighbor and just a few short months ago we spent the afternoon together in my brother’s house. I met her children and her husband and I shared her joy at the life growing within her.
But her faith shown through.
There has always been a light about her and now it seemed to shine even brighter.
Two days ago, this world turned upside down.
Scrolling through my news feed the babe and I stopped to look at her baby, the sweet boy born just a mere 46 days before. I’d watched from the online world as he had grown and been showered in love by his big sisters and his family. But this day. This day my heart swelled with her not in joy, but in sorrow.
And I kept thinking to myself, how can I write about peace, when there is such sorrow?
I cannot imagine her loss. But I have been strengthened by her faith. By her sweet sharing of grief over these last two days. By her constant faith and even encouragement to others who are feeling loss.
And then the reality of it seeped through, like the first break of morning after a long night. The second week of Advent, the week of peace is not for just a remembrance of that first night. It is not merely a hope to feel the earth remember his presence. But it is a reminder that even though we live in a place, in a world, where peace is seemingly absent-God is never missing.
He does not abandon us.
Not in the flurry of the holiday season.
Not in the pain of loss.
He fills the space of empty arms.
He holds tight the hearts of the wounded.
I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow that my friend faces. I cannot begin to understand her grief. But I can pray for her peace.
Will you join me, friends? Will you join me in this season that is supposed to be filled with such joy but is outlined in such sorrow? Will you help me lift her and her family up in prayer and pray for the peace that transcends all understanding?
If you feel so led, there has been a fund set up for her family. You can follow this link and help them say goodbye to their sweet boy.