Grief sits with joy

CAM01455The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, “to come to.”  It refers to the coming of Christ. And following the birth of Christ, later will come the story of the death of Christ, the Cross. And coming from that, the Resurrection. There is a coming to embrace all of this, the whole story.

The second step of many twelve-step programs also uses a form of this phrase “to come to”:  “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

So often healing is, indeed, a matter of “coming to.” After the long disease of denial, something breaks through. We come to our senses. Come out of the fog. Come out of delusion, distraction, wrong thinking, insanity.

The deepest of faith is that which is held onto, in the midst of the dark night of the soul. Even in deepest moments of despair, grief, loss, there is hope when one knows that everything is impermanent. This feeling of despair, too, shall pass.

I feel it’s so important to remember this, in the season where smiles and joy and happy families are the expectation. Reality can be blatantly different.  But all is not darkness, just as all is not light. There is always the mix, the shadow, the dance.

In the middle of this impermanence, this very human condition,  the Christmas message is that God’s child is born.  Emmanuel, God with us, the one who comes to us, invites us to embrace both the cross and the resurrection.   Death and life.  Grief and joy are united, inseparable.

Let us not deny grief, but make room for it at the table this season. Grief is as human as we are.   Grief can sit side by side with joy.   All are welcome here.



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