27 November 2012

Advent begins on 27 november

Officially advent begins this coming Sunday - four Sundays before Christmas. But for me, advent begins today - because today is my Mom's birthday. Last year I was in Canada for Advent, visiting family. My mom's illness overshadowed that whole visit - and so my most recent memories of Advent and Christmas are filled with my mom becoming weaker and weaker and eventually passing away. Today, being her birthday, seems an appropriate time to enter into that season again - especially as it was on her birthday last year that we, her family, were finally starting to realize that something was very, very wrong.

As a way to honour Advent, I'm choosing to read the book, Letters to myself on Dying. The author, Mirth Vos, makes me think of my mother. She was a strong Christian from the CRC tradition, happily married with children (and grandchildren, too, I believe), looking forward to retiring and spending more time with her husband and everyone else. Except she was dying of cancer and wouldn't get to watch those she loved grow older. This book are her questions and thoughts and her coming to terms with dying. I expect my mother, if she had known she was dying, would have said a lot of the same things - and so I read this book to remember my mom's love of life and her struggle with having it end, as well as her love for God and for us.

As I wait for Christmas this year, I do it remembering the pain of loss and death. But I also do it in anticipation of the new life and hope that Christmas brings. Christ's coming takes away all pain and death! And Christ's having come to earth at Christmas means that even today there is new life and new hope - something I have already seen this past year as my family has gotten closer and discovered new sides of ourselves (for example, I don't think either my father or I have ever been so involved with babies before - they're a bit more exciting than we had both previously thought :))

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