Yesterday morning at church we heard the story behind the Christmas hymn "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". The author of the poem that the hymn was written from was a man of faith who suffered great loss: two wife's died and then his son was badly wounded in the Civil War. He wrote the poem in a state of grief and loss. And yet he ends it with a message of hope and promise. His faith shining through the darkest times.
Then later in the afternoon we received the news that the adult daughter of friends had succumbed to the breast cancer she had been battling with for the past 6 years. What a horrible loss during the normally cheerful holidays. It was a juxtaposition that could not be ignored.
I cannot imagine the loss of a child. I have, however, experienced loss around the holidays. And just as Henry Wadsworth Longworth did back in the 1860s, I found myself buoyed by my faith and encouraged during such a time because of that faith.
It was a sobering, and yet uplifting, day.