23rd Day of Advent

Last Sunday our Scripture Reading was Psalm 23, it is a solemn reminder that we constantly live with death.  There isn’t a second of relief from the possibility of loved ones or ourselves dying at any moment.  But it also is a comforting passage, as Christians we are comforted by Jesus Christ.  Because of Christ’s death on the cross we will receive goodness and mercy, and our ultimate fate after death is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.




As I meditated on Psalm 23 last Sunday it reminded me of our recent experience of losing a son last December 23rd.  …which I’ve been meaning to share on my blog.  One of my sisters, Noelle, started a Christmas tradition where on each day of Advent we email each other what we did that day and how it relates to Christmas, so I sent this letter to my family:


On Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM, Benjamin Bryan wrote:

The 23rd Day of Advent was sad for us, Kris had a miscarriage and we had to go into the emergency room and spend most of the day at the hospital.  I called Dave (a friend from church) to come watch Eli–I broke down crying…somehow he gathered I was at the hospital and came to pickup Eli.  The doctor and at least one of the nurses were Christians, I really couldn’t have picked better people to get us through this, and being in a small town we pretty much had them to ourselves.  A few hours later Kris and I held our son.  He would fit in the palm of my hand and I could see his fully formed hands, feet, ears, eyes, nose…. while we were crying I asked Kris what we would call him, she didn’t know so I said, “how about Paul?”  So I named him Paul Bryan.  I told Kris I was going to let God give him his middle name. God has probably given him a much cooler name than Paul by now anyway.  I was amazed at the support our local church gave us, Jess (one of the pastors) came by to visit us immediately following the church service and Jim (another pastor) got me in contact with a grave place and told me the church would pay for the cemetery plot and service.  And since Kris is supposed to rest for awhile Andrea the farmer lady arranged for people to bring us gluten free food.  So at least we won’t starve while Kris tries to rest.  …our church also offered us much more help that we declined, they’re doing far more than we need already!

I know people try to find reasons for things like this, and I don’t know if it’s possible to know what that is.  The reality is we live in a fallen world and so death happens.  I have some comfort that God’s divine providence works out for our good, but that doesn’t mean things are supposed to be this way.  Our world should be perfect the way God created it, but it isn’t.  That’s why God sent His Son, the reason we celebrate Christmas, to die for our sins so that we might be saved.  Because of Christmas we’ll one day live in the presence of God in a world where there will be no death, no sadness, and no sin.
After Eli went to bed (and he barely noticed we were gone all day, he didn’t want to leave his friends when we went to pick him up) Kris and I watched the Making of Charlie Brown Christmas (thanks Mom!), which happened to be on YouTube.  Then we went to bed, it took a long time for me to fall asleep, but I finally did.

Love,
Ben

One thought on “23rd Day of Advent”

Leave a Reply