A year ago today was the memorial service for Bonnie in Kalamazoo. While I’m not in denial, the words memorial service and Bonnie’s name in the same sentence, at times, continues to feel surreal. I guess its just one of those days. This is our ‘first’ Thanksgiving home without Bonnie. As I begin to decorate the home I open up box after box which create a flood of memories surrounding special ornaments. I’m reminded of how Bonnie liked to decorate in a certain way, I see her hand writing on post-it notes indicating where we used decorations in previous years, and of course once in a while some items that should have gone in a garage sale years ago :). Decorating is taking a little longer and feels like it takes a lot more energy then I can put towards it. Bonnie always decorated ‘her’ tree (white lights and Waterford ornaments – OK she had classy style, but I’m very confident they were all purchased after Christmas at 75% off). Not sure when we’ll use the tree again, but McKenzie will have a classy tree when she chooses to.
As the season goes on…day by day…experience by experience…memory by memory, we journey through it. Ultimately the ‘season’ is about being thankful for God’s faithfulness, and for his overwhelming desire to be in relationship with each of us which he expressed so selflessly as he entered the world as a child. It’s a reminder that God has created us to be in relationship with others as well. We all know Christmas is more than time off work, presents, children, and even Santa (oh and for anyone in retail an incredible boost in sales). It’s a tangible time to count our blessings here on earth and the blessing that God so loved the world, that he reentered it, for the sake of each of us…so that we might spend eternity with him.
Here are two songs that I listened to over a year ago, and today they once again ministered to my heart. You may want to light a candle, indulge in your favorite beverage, listen to the words, release any self imposed expectations about the holidays, and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the special people in your life. May you be blessed and reassured of God’s presence and faithfulness to you. Lean into the friends in your life, and if your lonely, be a friend to someone. May your heart begin to swell with gratitude.
He Is – Mark Schultz
Always – Building 429