Holiday Cheer

Ephesians 6:22I  have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we
are and that he may console and cheer and encourage and strengthen your  hearts

Different in some ways, familiar in others, funerals have one thing in common. Most of us don’t know what to say to the bereaved.  Pastor Cliff  Fletcher offers good advice on ways to comfort.

“When in doubt, remember a hug, a firm handshake and ‘I’m sorry’ goes a  long way. Pray before speaking. This is not the time for advice or sermons. Instead, give memories. Mention times shared. Comfort doesn’t end at the funeral. Holidays and birthdays are coming up. Be available.
Send a card. Make a phone call.”

When the next sad occasion happens, let’s make an effort to comfort the bereaved. Why not ask God to watch our mouths and help us do or say the  right thing? There are many opportunities at the Christmas season. Many  people find it to be the most difficult time of the year.

PrayerDear God, remind us to pray before speaking and then let consolation and cheer be our goal. Thanks. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The New Normal

English author Rod Marshall sent me these soothing words of consolation.

“I just wanted to say that I feel your sorrow. It is normal, and it will become a familiar attendee at the table with you, even when you get used to it, bubbling up in the most unexpected places. What is now
normal is transient and will in time settle down to a new normality.

When God says that the two become one flesh, he means it. So now you are suffering with, a pardon the pun, a phantom limb. Your brain says that Ron should be there: but he is not.

The Grace of God overwhelms the temporary sorrow for those who suffer presently.

And I ponder these words often,because they are so comforting.

How Do I Love Thee?

You brought food. You cut our grass. You shaved Ron because he couldn’t do it himself (and because I only do legs.) You covered for me at work.

You left sweet messages on the phone. “Don’t worry about calling back. Just wanted to tell you that we love you.” You sent cards with encouraging Bible verses. You helped me lift and turn Ron so that he would be a bit more comfortable.

You picked up perscriptions, and shopped for essentials. You brought flowers to cheer us. You delivered  all kinds of medical equipment to make Ron’s last days more bearable.

You brought your guitars and sang us songs of joy and comfort.

You lowered the flag in our yard to half-mast.

You visited and shared funny stories. You encouraged us. You prayed with us and for us.

“What is that you have in your hand, ” asks God?

And you answered him with your talents of giving, baking, writing , thoughtness, encouragement and more.

You gave us time. The things you did let me spend every minute with Ron. I didn’t have to cook or think about house upkeep or shopping trips. You were Jesus with skin.  You didn’t just talk the talk, you walked the walk.

You cared about us more than you cared about yourself. You took the gift God gave you and you gave it to us.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways? For us, they are beyond measure.

Brenda J Wood