It was quite a few years ago. Our family and my cousins were staying with my grandparents when my dad brought us some bad news. He had been out exercising and had come across an unfortunate squirrel who had decided to cross the road at an inopportune time. The four of us cousins felt quite terrible for the poor thing and decided that the only respectable thing to do was to honor it with a proper ceremony. Without even a second thought towards the awaiting breakfast on the table, we began work on decorating a shoebox and gathering flowers and twigs to place atop the grave. It was rather interesting for me because as I look back, I remember feeling very sad for the animal but also experiencing a larger feeling that went much deeper than the little squirrel’s funeral that day.
Since then, I’ve come to understand that life has unimaginable value but as we all know, nothing lasts forever. This realization hit me sharply on Wednesday. I was at a remembrance service and I watched as people came, felt the pain of loss, and experienced their grief together. There was a certain time in the service when the names of the loved ones were read and a bell rang in remembrance. In that moment, the familiar feelings washed over me as I felt the heavy weight of life and death intertwined together.
These thoughts almost seem a little awkward to feel this time of year. December is supposed to be filled with holiday excitement, family traditions, and celebrating the birth of Jesus, but as I sat in a room full of people who have experienced great loss, I remembered that Jesus understands our hearts in every moment. He rejoices over His people but also comforts in the times of darkest grief. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
Whether this season is one of your happiest or maybe one of the hardest, remember that Jesus came to point this hurting world to the Father - the comforter and healer of our hearts. I want to live with the understanding that time is precious and valuable. Even during the business, I want to purposely take moments of stillness to reflect on the heart of God and the gifts I often miss. I want to encourage you to seek Jesus above all else during this holiday season. “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11 - Jenna Gibson