Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas into Easter

I will leave my study in a few minutes to conduct the funeral for a woman who died on Christmas Day. Through the years I have done funerals on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day and on all the days around an event that is meant to be joyful.
One year in Halifax we were just finishing Christmas dinner when I got the call that a woman who had been dying of cancer had breathed her last. The family had managed to support her at home so I went to the toney condominium where she lived and rode the elevator with her physician, who happened to be my doctor as well. We were surprised to see each other. He took a few minutes to officially declare her dead and then I gathered the family around the bed for prayer.

The elderly woman whose service I will preside over today was loving and much loved. I didn't really want to do this or any funeral this week but I was touched by the affection of her family as we talked yesterday. She made a loving difference with her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and she deserves to be remembered well.

As always these situations bring home to me the Easter in Christmas. Why is the birth of a peasant baby two thousand years ago so important to us? Because of his death and resurrection life, which give hope for our eternal life.

As we stand at the graveside this afternoon we will affirm this promise of Christmas into Easter.

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