Nicholas Wolterstorff’s twenty-four year old son died in a climbing accident. He writes:

“The worst days now are holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, birthdays, weddings, January 31–days meant as festivals of happiness and joy now are days of tears. The gap is too great between day and heart. Days of routine I can manage; no songs are expected. But how am I to sing in this desolate land, when there’s always one too few?”

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, 61.

C.S. Lewis’s mother died when he was nine years old.

“With my mother’s death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.”

C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy.

“Sometimes I think that happiness is over for me. I look at photos of the past and immediately comes the thought: that’s when we were still happy. But I can still laugh, so I guess that isn’t quite it. Perhaps what’s over is happiness as the fundamental tone of my existence. Now sorrow is that.

Sorrow is no longer the islands but the sea.”

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, 47.

The Bible says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Some of you live every day with a hole in your lives. Sorrow is, for you, a more “fundamental tone” than happiness. The islands and the sea have switched places. And only the great reversals promised by the Gospel will switch them back–someday.

As for this day, we see you. We love you. May the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort be extra close during this Advent Season as we lament together waiting for Christ.