4:12LIVE- Christian Authors Together for Teens (1Timothy 4:12)
A friend of mine died on Christmas Eve. I had obligations during the day so I didn't get to the hospice until 8 0'clock, after the last Christmas Eve service I attended. Anne died at 6:30. As I drove through the dark Colorado Springs streets, before I knew Anne had already stepped into the loving embrace of Jesus, I tried to think of what I would say to Ben, her husband, and Maryann, her 15 year old daughter. I didn't think the 1 and 3 year old children would be there.
I remembered two analogies that have helped children in the past. One is the image of Anne as a subject of the loving king. When He calls her to His palace throne room, of course, she goes. That helps children with the feeling of desertion. We know in our heads that a loved one does not leave us on purpose, but in the heart, we often feel abandoned.
The other is an analogy of picking someone here that you would want to visit with. First Lady Laura Bush? JK Rawlings? Think how much more exciting it would be to visit Jesus. In this earthly realm, you would come back from visiting someone. When a parent or loved one goes to visit Jesus, he/she doesn't come back, but waits patiently for your turn to join him/her in heaven.
I walked into the hospice and obeyed the signs that said check in with the nurses station. I announced I was there to visit Anne, and the five staff members went suddenly quiet. I knew I was too late. The head nurse took me aside and told me Anne had passed peacefully about an hour and a half before.
I asked for Ben. She said he'd left around ten minutes before.
I thank her and blessed her and the staff for the wonderful ministry they do at the hospice.
And went back to my car. I drove through the darkened streets of Colorado Springs, on my way to a family party.
This time I knew the words I had conjured up on my way to the hospice were for me, to help me let go of Anne and accept her place was now beside our loving Father in Heaven. I saw the beautiful Christmas lights decorating the homes. I hadn't seen them at all on the way over. And I thought what a wonderful time of year to die. The evidence of Jesus' coming to earth is plastered all over the town. If we allow God to comfort us with these signs of joy, we can remember that Jesus took away the sting of death and gave us an image of the glory of heaven.
I sat beside Ben and Maryann at church this last Sunday. They are doing well. Of course it is hard. But I got a hug from Ben and a smile from Maryann. I know their strength and joy is from the Lord.
Bless all those who weep, and may there be joy in the morning.