Last 12 Months ...

looking back at the photographer's looking at our backs
While looking for a pic in iPhoto this morning I clicked on the "Last 12 Months"folder and a sweet suite of pics from my mom's last visit to Washington popped up. Interesting because they were taken on August 1, 2011. Fitting because she died less than a year ago.

The other day I checked messages on my home phone and listened to an old message mom left in October after she saw the peppering of cancers in her lungs. She was encouraging, worried about my worrying. I'm keeping the message so I can listen on occasion.

As we wander in a rush towards Christmas and the family gathering,  I wonder what it will be like, this first Christmas without her. I'm looking forward to our longest night services. I hope that naming the grief and pain and sadness will help me be truly present to the living and the joy of gathering with all those so intimately tied to our hopes and dreams.

Looking back.
Looking forward.
Looking in.
Looking out.

I am understanding Emmanuel, God With Us, in a new, deep way.

Pastor Mark