Sherry Hayes-Peirce shares how the four themes of Advent, the Scriptures, and comforting words from others console her in this season.
The season of Advent is supposed to be a time that brings hope, peace, joy, and love to our mind, body and soul. These days it seems more and more like a mad race to finish all the tasks associated with Christmas Day.
This year I am really reflecting on the four themes of season in helping me navigate my grief journey rather than lamenting on not having his physical presence with me this year.
I traveled to Maui as was our tradition to do every December to celebrate Dude’s birthday, the third through the tenth. One of my church sisters traveled with me, and because it was her first time in Hawaii we attended a Luau. We were seated with a couple who were Seventh Day Adventist and I shared with them my story of buying the timeshare we have and that Dude had passed away. We enjoyed the show together and as we left the husband said, “We know that our faith tells us you will see him again.”
My whole body became filled with happiness and excitement as I said to him, “Yes, I know without a shred of doubt that I will see him again.”
He was surprised by my response and said. “You are truly a woman of faith; he was a blessed man to have you.” It warmed my heart to hear such praise.
My Dude was very organized; whenever we traveled or moved from one dwelling to another, he always would take the time to get us “set up.” As soon as we checked in to a hotel, we would unpack everything and he would arrange the furniture in the way that he liked and figure out the channels on the TV. He would say, “Chick, now that we are 'set up' we can go have some fun.”
John 14:2 reads,
“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?”
This Scripture helps me to picture my Dude getting us “set up” in heaven.
I have a plaque on my desk that says, “peace is not the absence of conflict”. Each day of this journey my deepest desire is to accept God’s will and find peace in living without my Dude. From the beginning there has been a sense that my husband was at peace when he died. Nine months from that awful day I am still conflicted about why he had to go so soon. Phillipians 4:7 tells us,
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
We can’t know the day nor the hour that our Lord will call us home, but I trust what the Lord ordains. The sound of Christmas music brings me such peace. As I listened to Silent Night the other day and sang the words “sleep in heavenly peace,” it held new meaning for me, this year knowing my Dude sleeps in heavenly peace.
One of the most consistent messages I’ve received from my pastor is that I must celebrate the joy that my beloved brought me in the 15 years we were together. There are so many things that my Dude did that brought me joy at Christmas. I will always remember when Dude bought me my olive wood nativity scene about 4 or 5 years ago. For years after seeing it for sale at a mall for $500, I yearned to have it. However, my husband thought it was way too expensive a Christmas decoration.
He surprised me by waking me up at 3 AM and pulling me out of bed, saying, “Santa came, Chick, come see what he left you!” I thought he was crazy, but realized there was a huge box under the tree that wasn’t there when we went to bed. I tore the paper off the box and opened it and inside were a number of things individually wrapped. The first thing that I unwrapped was a wiseman and immediately I knew it was the nativity scene I’d longed for.
I cried with joy as each piece revealed the set and he was filled with joy to share how he had negotiated a better price by heading out to the mall just an hour before they closed Christmas Eve. As I write this it brings a smile to my face, but also a tear to my eye in knowing how much he loved me. Again Scripture soothes my sadness and provides solace.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (John 16:20)
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Scripture soothes my sadness and provides solace. #catholicmom
I know that God loves me, for the Bible tells me so. I know my husband loved me because he showed me, told me and committed to me on our wedding day. The New Testament reading was:
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Even in death, Dude continues to show me and tell me he loved me and guide me through things that are difficult. There was a card I received and it read some love reaches all the way to heaven. One of the songs that reminds me of our enduring love is from Natalie Cole titled “This Will Be an Everlasting Love,” and in part it says “This will be, you and me, yes sir-ee, eternally.”
This Advent will be a first for me, but my faith will be the gift that I will open on Christmas Day to help me know that my hope in Christ assures me that I will see Dude again; that blessed assurance fills me with peace. The joy of past holiday celebrations and the future with my grandchildren sustains me, but most importantly, the Love we share lives on!
Copyright 2021 Sherry Hayes-Peirce
Images copyright 2021 Sherry Hayes-Peirce, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Sherry Hayes-Peirce is a Catholic social media strategist, blogger, conference speaker, podcast guest and contributing author of the Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers. She serves as Digital Engagement Coordinator for American Martyrs Catholic Community in Manhattan Beach, CA, and St. Monica Parish in Mercer Island, WA. Sherry has a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and is grateful to be a digital disciple of Christ.