1) Alright--on Friday we had a coming and going party of lots of young people some old people like us and one very old person. There were 16 of us at dinner time. We talked about who is all currently attending Concordia, (quite a few), whereas our dear senior person was also one of the original Concordians, several generations prior to the current one! Two of the young ones just took church music history together, one is going out with a pre-sem young man, one is doing a masters in Vancouver....
This is how I got them all to come: (of course, they are all kind people who share our loss this year and I am grateful for their company). BUT, I FINALLY figured out what Facebook is for. I did not have half of the contacts of the people I wanted to invite, so I sent them messages from friends' friends' lists! (Better learn late than never.)
2) There were opportunities to do a bunch more neat things, including going to German service at the Seminary. Dr. Zeuch has quite a facility in the German language and his sermon on the Magnificat I appreciated very much.
3) Then my local community choir went to one of the jails by Fort Saskatchewan and spent three hours walking between all the units and singing Christmas carols to and with inmates from the various units. The chaplains were with us and volunteers distributed Christmas goodie-bags to the prisoners in white lunch bags that had been decorated by school children. Quite a different experience. I don't want to describe all the details here. Some interesting volunteer work is being done in the jail, mostly by Roman Catholics, who, of course, knew people I know and, of course, knew about my son's death... and who had just lost someone else...
As we see again, the army of the bereaved is everywhere, as should be seen as natural seeing that we all die, yet, it does not strike us as natural at all. We do not feel like we should be taking such heavy losses.
Dr.Zeuch had talked in his sermon about the grieving at this time of year and he plainly said that we need to be grateful for what God has not taken from us...yet. That is a humble attitude, and we have no choice but to take it. Though we can't force neither gratitude nor humility, these circumstance do teach it to us. And there are blessings in this.
4) Read a neat thing about pain from C.S.Lewis this weekend, too (Preface to The Problem of Pain):
I must add,too, that the only purpose of the book is to solve the intellectual problem raised by suffering; for the far higher task of teaching fortitude and patience I was never fool enough to suppose myself qualified, nor have I anything to offer my readers except my conviction that when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.