Having spent several days with Laura’s family, we are now safely back home in brown, wet–balmy even– Middle Tennessee. We left Nashville last week with temps in the 60’s. Lincoln County, MO had highs of about 12 Sunday and Monday. We skirted some ice and freezing rain (fine by me) and missed snow (disappointing) only to return home to temps in the lower 60’s. We had a great time and we are glad to be home.
Some time ago Josh Graves blogged about those whose place at our tables will be emtpy this year. This year in our family there are several empty places: Ellay May Ice (Mac’s grandmother), R. C. Thompson (Laura’s grandfather), Tommie Roberts (Mac’s great-aunt), and Areta Ice Hartman (Mac’s great-aunt). As life moves on we come to difficult moments of death and separation. Holidays without them remind us of the pain of ‘good-bye’ ; at the same time they afford us an opportunity to love here, now. Alert communities of faith can make these unbearable moments more bearable and even redemptive. Josh’s post moves quickly to the Lord’s Table, and I think his comments are well-put. One example of how a congregation can act redemptively is described here by Bobby Valentine. After reading these two posts I am more and more and more disappointed that with all the opportunity to minister in redemptive ways, many will revert to (so-called) Christmas sermons about why Jesus wasn’t born on 25 December. We can do better than that, and I think Josh and Bobby have some things to say that will help us do better.