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I’m still really new to this blogging thing.  “My Life in Ink” is still taking shape.  I write when I am inspired.  I’m pretty silent otherwise.  And I am very well aware that I’m not the only person who writes.  This morning I woke up to a blog that my friend Michelle Prater Henrickson wrote.  Her sweet daddy went to heaven two days ago and what she had to say resonated with me to the point that I had to ask her if she would be my blog guest today.  She has consented.

The Hancock family had empty seats at the table today.  We shed some tears as we shared memories.  But, as Michelle reminded me this morning, we also have great cause to celebrate for Jesus has come.

Enjoy my friend Michelle this evening.  I’m pretty speechless in the shadow of her raw honesty today.  I love you Michelle.  My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jenn, all the “littles” and your precious mom tonight.

Rev. Prater

Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright.

A couple weeks ago I had been wrestling with how those in the throes of grief can still feel celebratory toward Christmas. It was difficult for me to wrap my brain around, but I persisted in this thought. I’ve had enough distance from the time of losing Melissa that my heartache isn’t nearly as raw and exposed as some others I know facing loss of some kind.

I know of a family…..a beautiful family…..that nearly three months ago laid their beautiful healthy three year old down for a nap. This son, grandson, brother, and nephew never woke up again. I cannot fathom their loss. Yet, these are people of immense faith. Some of the greats if you will. They forge onward. Trusting. Believing.

Just this last week a friend from my college days said a sorrowful goodbye to his thirty-eight year old bride after an oh so brief battle with cancer. This couple is by no means ordinary. They are in fact, extraordinary. In their walk, talk, and big life view. They *get* it. Although I’d been forced to *get* it a few years ago when I saw three little ones and a heartbroken Daddy & husband say goodbye to their beloved, my sister, I was challenged by this couple, Mark and Rebecca. So very challenged.

Kevin, Ki, and I were invited to a Christmas concert recently where Lincoln Brewster and an all black children’s’ choir from Chicago sang. We literally rocked out to some sweet Christmas tunes. It was in that moment that night, as I found myself wishing I could lose myself in a crowd of black people who knew how to freely get their worship on…..it was in that moment as I danced and sang “Joy to the World” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” that I GOT IT.

THIS. THIS. THIS is why the grieving can celebrate. This is why the mournful can dance. Because Love came into a darkened world. A glorious God who was full of mercy gave his Son. This. Yes. This. I needed that connection I made that night. I would call upon its truth this week. As we left the concert that evening, I told Kevin and Ki that I wish I had been more inconspicuous so that I could’ve freely responded to the way the music moved me. Kevin laughed and said that it didn’t seem I was holding back. Smile. Baby steps.

Silent night
Holy night
All is calm
All is bright.

I came home to my precious Mother tonight for the first time since Dad left this world and went home to the place where his faith has been made sight. I held her in my arms. We’re all cried out for now. The well of tears that seemed so plentiful seems to be at a scarce supply for the time being. I MISS my Dad. He’s not even been gone from this world for forty-eight hours and I miss him desperately.

But, I will celebrate the Great Hope of this season. I would fail myself if I didn’t. I would be remiss. This Season is the crux of my belief system. It’s the reason I can stand and walk forward. I won’t overlook the truth it brings simply because I am wrought with sadness or even despair. In fact, I will delve more deeply into its vast supply of hope and promises.

“All is well, all is well
Let there be peace on earth
Christ is come go and tell
That He is in the manger.”

The babe is in the manger, folks!!! The Son of God is lying in the manger. Because of that, all is well. Indeed, it is. What an immense hope we have.

Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas, friends!!!