The Advent Message Gives Me Hope During Dark Times
During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, many in the Christian tradition observe a season of waiting called Advent. This period of anticipation encourages us to take a fearless and moral inventory of our lives so we can invite the birth of Christ into our hearts properly. We evaluate the things that keep us from fully embracing the light, which can only shine in us if we do the work needed to remove the darkness that binds us spiritually. I consider Advent one of the most sacred seasons of the church year. During this time, I always discover old habits or attitudes that I must surrender to live in complete devotion to my faith.
Recently, I was affected by a situation in an unexpected way. I am a fan of the show “Blue Bloods.” The story centers around the Reagans, a multi-generational family who serve in different capacities within the New York City Police Department and justice system. Well-written scripts explore many aspects of familial relationships.
So, what in the world do Advent and “Blue Bloods” have to do with hemophilia?
An episode I recently watched centered around one family member’s youngest child. The protagonist, his brother, and his aunt were riding bicycles in Central Park. A lone rider came racing around a curb and hit the little boy, knocking him off his bike and leaving him in a coma. The family circled him and took turns sitting with him in the hospital, hoping he would wake up and become responsive.
One scene featured the Reagan family sitting in the hospital room eating a meal together. I was transported back to when my youngest son, affectionately known as “MacDonald the Younger,” spent many holidays recovering from internal joint bleeds in the hospital. We ate many meals in his room, and celebrated Advent, Christmas, and other seasons in the confines of the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital.
I thought of the overwhelming darkness that held us in its grasp as we desperately attempted to practice family traditions, even amid painful times. The only hope that seemed to reverberate in my soul came from the promise of the Advent message: Darkness gives way to light. I held on to this when facing the most difficult of circumstances.
I remembered the transformative message, and, after shedding many tears recalling the pain of life in the hospital, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued watching the show.
Despite the sorrow of a painful memory, I gave thanks that we eventually moved from the darkness into the light of a new day. The show reminded me that our family is tough, and, like the Reagans, we hold on to family traditions to get us through difficult times.
The show also reminded me that I need to do a little grief work this Advent season, as the pain of what my stinky son experienced remains with me. On the other hand, the memory reminds me that, even in the darkest of times, the light still makes its presence known.
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