--even in a year like this.
What I've come to realize about Christians is this, there is a community that shares, indeed, there is. It shares all kinds of things. And anyone who does not care to be part of it, is really missing out.
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21.
To All Our Dear Ones: Christmas 2009
We want to greet you with these words, at this time of year, because it is really good news that the dwelling place of God is with man, people like you and like me. It is most astounding. Imagine it. At Christmas, we celebrate the incarnation, that the Almighty God would deign to dwell with us as a poor human being , bearing everything we bear and more, dying and rising for our sins so we will be fit to live with him when we die or when returns to take us to his heaven. It is all most certainly true.
We also want to greet you with these words because it has been a very difficult year for us, as you know and as it has been undoubtedly for others. Our firm expectation of fulfillment of these words is our chief comfort. Our salvation in Christ is our deep joy, that remains when all else has to go. We know that everything will indeed be new. We already know the beginning of it. And we know that death is not the end. And we know that there can be no more sadness when we dwell with God.
Still, writing this letter is more difficult this year, because we cannot begin to tell you about the profoundness of our loss and grief over Stefan’s death, this year, and yet we should say something about it. Most people feel the same way when they are speaking with us. They want to say something and it is so hard for them. Most often a hug and a tear is what come out. Many, many people feel this loss very deeply, also. Some have sent us Bible verses, which was also helpful. And we should thank you again for all gestures of love, prayers, comfort and empathy, as well as practical help. The support was amazing and we are grateful for all the expressions of sympathy. You and the Lord know what you have done. Bless you for it. And may we all be strengthened in our faith even while facing these difficulties. It is good that we don’t travel this earthly path alone.
Martin and I have spent a good deal of more time with our Bible and hymnbook. We have been using CPH’s Treasury of Daily Prayer, which just came out this time last year, reading it aloud to each other in the evening. Reading out loud is really a different experience from reading it silently by yourself. I’d recommend it for a change. We’ve also got to know other resources. Receiving, buying and reading and passing on a number of different books as been a part of the journey and if you are at the receiving end of a devotion book this Christmas, don’t be offended, or if you’d like one let me know (I have some more. :) ). A deeper walk has really been a great blessing, an adventure, and renewal. We thank our triune God for bearing us up in this time. The Spirit does work through the Word and Sacrament, as we are promised.
The rest deals with personal details such as the upcoming wedding.