This post is written by Jenny Cochran, eMeals co-founder, and sister of Jane DeLaney, the founder of eMeals.
In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, this holiday season is shrouded in a quiet somberness. Such unfathomable loss at this time seems so paradoxical. Yet, as I ponder, grief and Christmas are very much akin to each other. This time of year is marked by the coming of the Messiah…God sending His own Son into this world…the great sacrifice of the perfect Son of God, Jesus…the One to lay His life down so that we could be reconciled to God. The images of the babe in the manger, should stir in us a deep sadness and the certainty that God knows loss. He knows how it rips our hearts into shreds. He knows how unbearable grief can grip and strangle your ability to take another breath. He knows how it changes you forever. We weep with these dear families who have had to stand beside a grave, much too soon.
These times stir in us deep longings. They bring to heart and mind the things we treasure and the things we’ve lost. As a young mom, I stood beside a tiny casket of my beautiful 9 lb baby boy. His life was a very short one and as Ecclesiastes says, ‘he went from the womb to glory, not having to taste the bitterness of this world’. And that’s what I tasted for a long time. The bitterness of deep loss and emptiness…grasping in the night for what was not there anymore. Wondering as the season grew colder, if he needed a blanket. The mental and emotional anguish is as cruel as one can imagine. Yet in the deepest, darkest places…God would touch me with the hope of truth…that this story isn’t over. There will be a day when ‘we will be changed’. The mortal will be swallowed by immortality and the perishable will become imperishable. There is a hope beyond the sting of this life. And God made sure that we would have this hope.
During the first hours of absorbing the reality that my baby had died in my womb, my younger sister, Jane, came a very long distance to be with me and to help us navigate through those first long, scary and desperate hours. There were many decisions that had to be made, even as I labored to deliver him. There is no way I could have gotten through that without her. She was a calm, tender presence, speaking to me sweetly and thoughtfully, making sure I didn’t miss any moment or forget anything that I would regret later. I could write a book about all the miraculous things that took place on that day and the days following. I felt and experienced the soft hand of God and his broken heart for me in astounding ways. When I think back on that time, her sweet face and tender hands are a huge part of that memory.
Dear Jane, this Christmas, I wanted to share with our eMeals family, how precious you are to me. You were my little, quiet and invisible sister who rarely got any attention unless your funny bone created some hysterically funny scenario. But, then after the laughter died, we’d carry on unaware of the continuing love and care that you poured into our family. Most of my sweetest and most cherished Christmas memories were because of you. The thoughtfulness and work that you put into our gifts always amazed and touched me deeply. Whether it was a shadow box that held little handmade treasures, a beautiful pencil drawing that you knew would mean so much to me, or the Christmas morning we all ran downstairs only to see our old stockings replaced by a new set made and embroidered especially for each one of us. On them you can read, ‘O Come Let Us Adore Him’. This really encapsulates the most precious thing about you and that is how you’ve pointed us to our Savior throughout your life by serving Him, loving your family…and loving us well. I love you, dear little sister.
I am moved by these last days to express my love to those who are dear to me. We are all desperate for hope in the midst of our loss. This Christmas, my prayer is that His hope will be with you and you will accept His invitation of love. Only in Him will you find lasting peace.
Emmanuel…God with us.