Monday, November 26, 2012

The Thorn in Thanksgiving

Cursed is the ground because of you... thorns and thistles it shall bring forth 
for you.
Genesis 3:17, 18

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

All good things come to an end.
We all know it, and we all mourn it just the same.

When I entered the dark of Noah's room last night, I could tell he was upset. He sat on the edge of his bed, head down, motionless. From the glow of the Christmas tree in the next room, I eased over next to him and asked what was wrong. Unresponsive, he sat there in silence for some time while my mind rehearsed possible causes for my son's sudden sadness. We'd had a great day together, and before that, a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend: good food, a lot of laughs, a long reunion with relocated family. Why such sorrow after such joy? At last he spoke, and in his answer I discovered that his sadness was not in spite of the joy - it was because of the joy. The last moments of Thanksgiving were slipping away, stealing with it the happiness from his young heart.

Perhaps you've felt it. The un-nameable something that flutters away in a wave goodbye. The irretrievable gleam that sinks with the setting of a sun. The heart-sting of unreachable moments buried in the sands of time, left only to what fading memory will allow. The breath-crushing weight of a photograph laden with those memories. We are ever losing what we have and what we know for the blind uncertainty of the next second.

In one form or another, we all know the pain of loss, the flaming sword of Eden forbidding our return to what once was. We have learned to expect such loss in this world, and yet we mourn as if it should not be. We sit alone in our dark rooms, silent; but we long for the light and the company and the voices of Eden, where time is not cursed with thorns, and where moments bloom forever outward like a fruit-bearing flower.

"Father," we cry, "we had such a good time then. But now we must go back to work."

And He says, "Yes. That is true. But, you know, there is another holiday coming soon, and then a new year."

"But those will soon be over, too," we say, "and we will be sad again."

"Do not worry about that. The thorns of loss have not hurt you more than they have hurt your Brother. You have been pricked, but He has been pierced."

There is weight in these words, and in the heavy stillness that follows, you know that your Father also has suffered the pain of loss.

"So then, are we always bound to lose the good times?"

"Not at all! There is nothing lost that cannot be saved. There is nothing dead that cannot be raised to life. I am not the Father of the dead, but of the living! Jesus was the first to rise, and many other good things will be raised by Him. See then, your joys are not lost - they are being planted, saved for a time when nothing can be lost and you will enjoy them forever in full bloom."

And so at last you lay down in your bed, silent, but no longer sullen. There is the hard work of a new week ahead. There is the memory of Thanksgiving there in the dark. There is the glow of the Christmas tree promising from the next room a new and coming joy to be had, and then tucked away until the end of all endings and the beginning of joy everlasting.    

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