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The Peace of Advent: Day Four

December.12.2012

I’m really excited because today, our good friend Kylanne Rosenberger is sharing on today’s movement through Advent. Be sure to check out her blog. 

My grandpa died four days before Christmas the year I turned eight.  It wasn’t sudden.  He had been sick for some time.  My mom did an excellent job of explaining to me and my brother and sister what my grandpa’s illness was, how it was eating away his entire body and why in the last few weeks, we couldn’t go see him.  He was too tired.  He didn’t look like himself.  And in the end, well, he wasn’t even awake.

My mom came home and woke up us.  She gathered us all on the couch and told us that Grandpa McBroom had gone to be with Jesus.  She was convinced of this, she said.  She told us how a few days before, she had been sitting with him, holding his hand and he opened his eyes and said, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

My 8 year old heart was comforted by the familiarity.  My grandparents never talked much about religion, as they called it, but it was beginning of a prayer we would pray before every family holiday meal:

“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest.”

My mom told us we could be convinced that that simple prayer was enough.  God had heard it.  And He had come.

The memories of that first holiday without him are blurry.  I don’t recall when we had the funeral.  I don’t remember what we ate, what presents we opened, or even how we celebrated.  Looking back on that first holiday without him though, I am always flooded with a sense of peace.  I can remember how it was present over our entire family and there did not seem to be an earthly explanation for it.

“Come, Lord Jesus”.

I prayed that prayer a thousand times those first few weeks without him.  While sitting in his favorite recliner, or standing out in his tool shed or just giving my grandma a hug, the words we previously used to bless our food had now become a source of strength and comfort in the face of uncertainty and loss.  This was my first encounter with peace.

Twenty Christmases have come and gone since that one now, and each year has brought different challenges and joys of their own.  My love and faith in the Lord, my understanding and trust in His salvation and countless other things have changed about me since then. But every year, as I prepare to celebrate the birth of my Savior, I come back reflect back on the simplicity of my grandfather’s prayer.  I think and wonder in astonishment what it must have been like back to the time before Jesus was born when all of creation was groaning and crying out much like my grandpa did in the midst of his pain,

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

And come He did.

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