Christmas time is here.
How do I know this? My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree is up and so are my Christmas lights. I went to the zoo down the street from my house to see their Christmas light display and followed that up by having a gingerbread shake at the local burger joint. Now, I’m following this all up by watching my favorite and best Christmas movie of all time – Die Hard (if I get real crazy, I’ll watch Die Hard 2: Die Harder). Oh, and I’ve been to four Christmas parties this past week with at least one more coming.
The season of Christmas cheer and celebration is here. I love this time of year, I really, truly do.
But, something started to get me thinking.
Have you participated in the “On this Day” feature on Facebook? If you haven’t, it’s a part of Facebook where they collect your old posts from that day in your history. Most of the time it’s pretty amazing to look back on and see just what exactly was captivating my time and attention. However, every now and again you’ll see a part of your life you really don’t want to be reminded of. This happened to me a couple of days ago.
There are not a whole lot of posts on my social media profiles that would ever cause me to lose sleep, but this was one of those. On December 12, 2011, I received the Facebook message that would alter my life forever.
This was the day I found out one of my best friends, a brother form another mother, Ramon, was officially starting his fight with cancer. A fight my brother, Ramon, would lose. A fight that would forever change me. A fight that would shape me. A fight that I still battle today, because hardly a day goes by five years later where I don’t think about him.
This journey began in the season of Advent. I’m sure it hit me when I went through it five years ago, but I also know my hope was high – so was my expectation.
Now, as I reflect on this season of my life in Advent, I’m struck by all the hope, excitement, and anticipation the birth of Jesus brought to the world over 2,000 years ago. Jesus’ birth marked a shift in human history, a shift in the battle of light versus dark, a shift in bad winning out over good, a shift in the world being put back in line to God’s natural, created order.
Jesus, the Fully God-Perfect Man, came to us as a little, tiny, crying, stinky, unable to care for himself, baby. Jesus, sacrificed His status, His place, to come to Earth, and begin to make things rights, to take back ownership of this fallen, diseased, broken, hurting world. Jesus’ birth was the beginning of cancer being vanquished once and for all.
Yes, Ramon, my brother from another mother, would lose his fight with cancer in a few short months after I wrote that fateful Facebook post. Yes, I went from standing in his wedding to attending his funeral in ten short months. Yes, my prayers for healing were not answered in the way I hoped, longed, or anticipated. Yes, I’m still missing the the Ramon void in my life today and I’m confident it will never be filled the same way again. But, Christmas, Advent, Jesus – marks the beginning of being able to have confidence that cancer doesn’t get the last word.
Jesus gets the last word.
In Advent, it’s a reminder the world will not always be this way.
A Savior, a Redeemer, a King has come to make things right, to make things new, to make things better, to make things whole, to heal a broken and cursed land, to end cancer once and for all.