Later this morning I will attend a memorial service for the son of a woman for whom I have great admiration. His death preceded his 54th birthday by just a few weeks and was quite sudden. The shock was compounded by the death of my friend’s husband just three weeks previous to that of her son. No words of sympathy or attempts to assuage such grief are adequate for one who bears the loss of those she calls the two great loves of her life. All we can offer is presence. And so I go. I suspect that this event will be a lesson in diversity of belief about God and life while also manifesting a depth of unity brought about by relationship and community.
Today is also the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Mother of Jesus, a woman of great love who could never have dreamed of what her life was to hold of joy and pain. We never know but can only hope to live into the happenings of life as we grow and change and accept and endure what comes to us. I take comfort during troubled times as I read and believe lines of the prophecy trusted throughout the Hebrew Scriptures that “the favored one” would “bear a son and call his name Emmanuel, which means God is with us.” May God be with us today and may wives and mothers and all who who endure great losses know peace and comfort in the memories of the love they have given and received.