"For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ."
II Corinthians 4:6
This is the Scripture text from the funeral Michael and I attended this afternoon for the dear two year old son of friends of ours. As I watched this family say goodbye to their beloved son and walk together one last time down the aisle of the church, the five siblings crowded around their parents, I couldn't help but think of Tiny Tim. Perhaps my thoughts have been too full of Dickens, and A Christmas Carol, and The Man Who Invented Christmas. My heart, and every heart there, protested: Tiny Tim is not supposed to die. That's not how the story goes. But the fact of the matter is sometimes the Tiny Tims do die. And it takes an Author with infinitely more skill than Dickens to write a story in which Tiny Tim dying can actually, in eternity, be a better story than if he did not.
My thoughts also turned to another mother in history who had to watch the death of her son: Mary and the prophecy spoken over her at the presentation of Christ in the temple in Jerusalem. Simeon foretold that a "sword would pierce through her own soul as well." That sword pierced her soul when she had to live through the unnatural experience of watching her child die.
We might think this all very depressing at Christmas-time but you know, it forces us to think about what the coming of Christ really means and the hope that it truly provides. The whole reason Christ came and dwelled among us was to provide reconciliation with God Almighty so that physical death might not be the end for us but only the beginning of life eternal. This eternal hope has been so evident in the lives of baby Jonathan's parents over the last several years and their witness of devotion to an ailing child, of trust in Christ, of faith in God's all-powerful and at the same time all-loving care. Truly the light of Christ is shining in this situation.
It seems trite to speak of the other things we did today but outside of the holy interlude of the time set aside to honor Jonathan it was a full day. The kids and I finished our History of Christmas studies by talking about Christmas in 2017 and making a list of all the things that are a part of our family Christmas traditions. We turned this list into a poster and also read Lucy and Tom's Christmas. Andrew had a dentist appointment downtown so I left mid-morning to collect him and drive downtown where I spent an hour happily reading while Andrew had his teeth tugged on. We dashed to Wildwood for a quick lunch with Grandma and Cousin Olivia as well as a sweep through Mission 27 thrift store looking for Christmas presents and props for my upcoming class. We headed home in time to get to the funeral and once back from that heated up leftover soup for dinner. I met my mom and sisters at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for a little sister birthday celebration and a tour of the Winter Lights. We all enjoyed the beautiful artistry, especially the painstakingly outlined large trees with 50,000 lights each. And now it's time for a little reading and gearing up for the weekend.
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