As many of you know, our family grew a little larger on October 17 with the birth of Benjamin Young. As you also know, our family, while bigger, is still incomplete as we continue to mourn the loss of our dear Silas, who would have turned one today. Some will say that having Benjamin (Benji) makes it all better. They think that Benji can in some way erase all the pain of losing Silas; that our grief will be erased by the birth of our second son.
That’s simply not the case. Continue reading
I really don’t want to go to church this Sunday. That may sound extreme to some, especially since I’m a pastor, but with Father’s Day on the way I find myself a mix of emotions. Part of me screams for people to recognize that I am a father; that my son not being here doesn’t negate his existence. Another part of me just wants this day to vanish. I want to crawl into a hole and to emerge on Monday as if nothing had ever happened.
As I struggle with these emotions I feel very alone. I know I have a loving wife and family who are there for me, who love me, and who support me. I know that when Father’s Day comes, they will accompany me however I need them to. Even so, I feel alone…and I’ll tell you why. Continue reading
I wanted to share with you all this extended quote from Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son.
On the way back [from claiming my sons body] I thought about tears. Our culture says that men must be strong and that the strength of a man in sorrow is to be seen in his tearless face. Tears are for women. Continue reading
Love is the final theme of the advent season, and it is, perhaps, the hardest for me to write about. It is often the theme that points us towards our family and the love that we share. Our family, however, is incomplete this year, and it will be every year from this point forward. There is a lot of love that we have stored up for our sweet son, and we simply don’t know how to show it. Continue reading
Joy is the farthest thing from many people’s minds this week. In the midst of tragedy, whether we’re talking about the abhorrent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut or the personal tragedies like what Bekah and I are experiencing, rejoicing is not the first reflex. When we speak of grief, joy is not a concept we generally include. Even so, advent forces joy upon us, even when our spirits don’t feel like rejoicing. Continue reading
Peace is another central theme to the advent season, and I have grown to be painfully aware of the political aspects of peace, both today and in the times of Jesus. The world’s peace is so often maintained through force and power. Peace through subjugation; peace through fear. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to proclaim another sort of peace: a peace brought about by the complete absence of conflict and not by the threat of violence. I still believe this is a pertinent and needed message of the advent season, but this year I am much more aware of another aspect of the peace we long for during this time. Continue reading
The season of advent is one that is very dear to me. From very early on, it was instilled in me that Christmas is about more than the gifts that we receive. We celebrate something more than an overweight man squeezing through chimneys to give good kids presents and bad ones coal. This holiday is about the coming of Jesus, and the season of advent reminds us that we must wait, we must anticipate his coming. Each candle of the advent wreath reminds us of that waiting, of what people for all of history have been longing for. I’ve always cherished the liturgy of lighting the candles, thinking about what those people of ancient history must have felt, and then looking forward to the coming of Christ, our Savior. All of that, however, feels and looks much different for me this year.