Last year at this time, my father-in-law was in the hospital. For quite some time actually, he went in the day after Thanksgiving and wasn’t released until early January. So he missed a good deal of the holidays, all the preparations, putting up the Christmas tree, shopping for gifts, attending parties and the myriad of activities that occupy us over the holiday season.
Looking back thru the photos from that time, I see the little Christmas tree and small decorations in the hospital room. Looking up from his hospital bed, he is always smiling in the photos surrounded by family dressed in winter clothes. There is a poinsettia, a few gifts, other visitors. It’s not a picture of how we like to remember the holidays but I’m sure it is one shared by other families as well.
He passed away in March after a long illness, surrounded by family at his bedside. This past year has been a year of firsts for our family: first Easter without Dad; first Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving. As we come to the close of the year, the list grows shorter as well. We still miss him, but the passage of time helps alleviate some of the sorrow. Not all of it, but some.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14