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The reality of Advent hit hard today when I learned that a beautiful mama of young children lost her fight with metastatic breast cancer.

Waves of grief came over me as I’ve remembered…

My aunt who also lost her fight and left three beautiful children.

My friend whose twelve years old daughter died of brain cancer.

My friend whose son took his own life.

My two mom friends who are now single mothers after their husbands died of colon/stomach cancer.

My neighbor who lost her young son to brain cancer.

These are just a few of the losses that came to mind.

Advent is a season where we choose to reflect and to remember the darkness and suffering that was in the world before Jesus came. It is also a time where we acknowledge the darkness and suffering that still exist in this broken world. This pause for reflection is important because it causes us to remember our continual need for Emmanuel. During Advent we remember that God came to earth in the form of a baby and lived a full life as a human. He experienced weakness, pain, suffering and grief. Christ’s life showed us the heart of the Father and revealed his true nature. His death broke the power of sin and darkness that had taken ahold of our hearts, separating us from the life and light of God. His resurrection made it possible for us to have everything we need to live full, connected, victorious, and beautiful lives. But the battle isn’t over, we are not yet complete. All things are not yet “made new.” Darkness is still waging war against the light within us. We still suffer. We still experience natural death. The season of Advent is a yearly reminder that the story is not over. He’s coming again. Until then, we sit in advent with our hearts continuing to cry out for the Savior to “come,” to rescue us from darkness, to deliver us from fear, to give us hope, to breathe new life.

As I wrestle with questions, grief, even frustration, Emmanuel: God with us, always carries me. No matter what you are experiencing right now, remember: Emmanuel is with you.

“For there is nothing, from the lowest, weakest tone of suffering to the loftiest acme of pain, to which God does not respond. There is nothing in all the universe which does not in some way vibrate within the heart of God. No creature suffers alone; He suffers with His creatures and through it is in the process of bringing His sons and daughters through the cleansing and glorifying fires, without which the created cannot be made the very children of God, partakers of the divine nature and peace.”
― George MacDonald, The Marquis’ Secret

“Hope that is seen is not hope…” said the apostle. One day, our hopes will be fully realized. Suffering and death will no longer be a reality. We will be complete. Until then, we wait. We sit in Advent.

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit ush from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Come, Lord Jesus. We need you. Give us peace as we wait for you. May we be confident of your goodness and mercy that you have promised will “follow us” all the days of our earthly lives, even when we are face to face with grief.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

Stephanie Staples

Author Stephanie Staples

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  • Carol A Kenzy says:

    Much pain surrounds us in our world today — the rain comes on the just and the unjust, but God is still God. May the Prince of Peace and the One who is our hope and salvation be with you today as you wrestle with the many losses in your immediate circle of friends. Jesus is close to he brokenhearted. With love and condolences, Carol

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