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1st Sunday of Advent

Read Isaiah 53:1-12

Amy Catlin Wozniak lives in Ohio. in July 2014, her stepson Ryan was killed in an accident. For three days he was a missing person before they found and learned what had happened to him. Grief overshadowed her joy that Christmas.

One December day Amy was home alone. It was late afternoon and had gotten dark outside as Amy sat on the couch.Holiday music played in the background, but Amy paid it no attention until "O Holy Night" began. The words "and the soul felt its worth" broke through her thoughts and reconnected her with hope.

Isaiah 53:4 says, "Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." The word used for griefs in that verse means sickness, disease,anxiety, affliction. It refers to suffering. Reading that verse as they began the journey to Advent after Ryan's death reminded Amy that Jesus came not just to take away the sins of the world but also to walk with us through our darkest times because he loves us.

Seven years later "O Holy Night" is one of the first carols Amy listens to as she prepares for Christmas because it reminds her to turn her pain and her empty seat at the table over to Christ. It also serves as a reminder of all Jesus has carried her through. Each of us has faced loss, and holidays can magnify the missing faces at the table. Amy understands. More important Jesus understands.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to trust you to love us through our grief, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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