John 11:17-36

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.  He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus began to weep.
John 11:33-35

I went to a funeral today.  My friend Pat died, and we gathered to remember her.  The truth is, I’ve been remembering her all week.  It seems like everywhere I go I’m seeing a reminder of her.  I saw her picture as the programs were being printed for her service.  The tea I drank this morning was from the box she insisted I take home after our last tea time together.  There’s a vase she gave me when she was downsizing sitting on the table where I absentmindedly set my phone.  My office even has tea and cookies she brought by at various times.  I never got to thank her for that last gift before she died.

Christmas is usually such a festive time, the scriptures so full of joy and anticipation.  Sometimes it is easy to forget the sorrow that the season can invoke.  For many of us, this Christmas will not be Christmas as we have known it.  Without someone we love, it will be a very different season.  Partaking in the joy may be hard or even too much to ask.

As you travel through Advent, consider this scripture.  It is not the usual Christmas text, but it reminds me that the Jesus who’s birth we celebrate came into the world to share our sorrows.  At the sight of our tears, Jesus’ heart is moved to weep with us.  Emmanuel, God with us, means that we do not grieve alone; Christ weeps beside us.  And just like Mary and Martha, our faith community mourns with us as well.  In this emotionally challenging season, you are not alone.  We walk together toward the manger and the Christ-child who comes to bear our burdens and share our sorrows.

Pastor Heather