Holiday Memorial Meditation

Saturday, December 9, 2023
Pastor Jason Bryan-Wegner

Isaiah 11:1-10

Grace and peace to you from Christ Jesus, who offers light in our darkness, and hope for our lives. Amen.

We come together today because we share a common experience. We have walked the path of love and relationship with those who are no longer with us. This may be the first holiday you’re loved one isn’t here or maybe you come each year, simply to remember and to know that sadness is shared here, and you’re not alone. For whatever led you here today, I pray this is a blessing of safe space to feel whatever you need to feel. Grief has no timeline and no instruction manual. You carry with you the memory of the one or ones you so bravely opened your heart to as a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, or a friend.

Carrying these memories may still feel heavy. Maybe you wish some days that you could just put them down for a while or set the ache of their absence aside for just a bit, even if you only admit that to yourself. Perhaps these memories you carry are also comfort, like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s evening, because they help you feel the love and presence of the one you miss.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” Vulnerability and love have always gone hand in hand. C.S. Lewis reminds us that when we love, we are open, and when we are open, we risk being changed, even broken.

This isn’t just the human experience. It’s God’s experience too.

God is love. God is vulnerability. Isaiah spoke to a people who were living in layers of grief and loss. They have lost loved ones, they have lost land, they have lost identity, like they were a giant tree cut down to a stump. That’s how grief feels sometimes, right? But from that stump shot sprigs of hope and promise. Not always the same as before, but that’s what hope and promise offer – a way toward life when all has been lost. God never lets death have the last word. The One who is clothed in righteousness and peace, the One who is full of the Spirit of counsel and strength, wisdom and discernment is the same One who is clothed in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger this Christmas – the same One who embodied love for you and for all, on the Cross – so that we may know the depth and vulnerability and power of God’s love.

This is worth remembering at Christmas. That God enters into the deepest of relationship with us by entering into our human frailty, and vulnerability, into our winding unchartered journey of grief, to bring us hope and promise – in Jesus. And to know that in all we carry, we never carry it alone. For Love comes down at Christmas. Amen.

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