A daughter of a friend of mine passed away this month. Since then I have been acutely aware of those
who are mourning this season. People I
normally don’t think of much have been coming to mind---my sister’s friend who
lost her husband, my friend Kari for whom this will be her first Christmas
without her mom. Last year I met my
sister’s friend on Christmas Eve and now he is dead--leaving behind a wife my
age and a small son.
Kizzy is getting
through Christmas without her husband and another friend too because of a
divorce. Others are mourning job losses
and being far from home. And now today,
millions of students mourn the defeat of the Dream Act--a law that would make a
way for people raised in the United States to earn their legal residency by
going to college or serving in the military. After ten years of work, advocacy, and the bill passing the House of
Representatives, we missed the vote by five votes. I feel disappointed and sad. I feel my friends’ grief and loneliness.
It is awful to be surrounded by rejoicing and parties and
festivity when you are grieving and mourning.
I have wondered how my friends could possibly relate to the Christmas
season this year. Yet, it was in the Christmas
Story itself that I found words of mourning, and so somehow of comfort. Matthew’s gospel recounts the Escape to Egypt
when Jesus parents fled to another country. As they left, Herod was leaving a wake of destruction and death. Matthew quotes the prophet Jeremiah to
describe the scene:
is heard in Ramah,
and great mourning,
weeping for her children
refusing to be comforted
they are no more.