Tears in the Snow
On Saturday, December 23, 2000, The Dallas Morning News published the following article in their religion section. The author is Rev. Larry Hatfield of Grand Assembly of God Church in Chickasha, Oklahoma. In the paper, it was titled Death Observes no Holiday. I wrote Rev. Hatfield and asked his permission to use his sermon on this web site. He graciously allowed me to publish his sermon here.
The theme of the sermon is death at Christmastime, but when I read it I saw similarities in the families of the Angels of Columbine. We're never prepared for death, especially at a school, but death strikes us all.
I protest! Nobody should have to bury a loved one at Christmastime. This season was meant for festivities, not farewells. No numb is like the numb at a cemetery during the holidays. The Artic blast of grief makes cold weather colder.
And though it's been said many times, many ways, there's no lonely like lonely in December. Anyone who trails a hearse through the snow may have Jack Frost nipping at their nose, but they also have unbelievable anguish ripping at their insides.
Death takes no sabbatical and respects no celebration. We are never completely liberated from the ominous possibility. The door of the hearse is always open. There are many problems that human beings do not universally face, but the statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of every one will one day die. "It is appointed..." (Hebrews 9:27).
Death is such a despicable interrupter. The artist must leave a picture half-painted, the author a book unfinished. The truck driver leaves his rig by the side of the road. Abruptly, retirement plans, now meaningless, are abandoned.
Death is an inconsiderate disrupter. Immediately there are conspicuous changes. A double bed is suddenly single. A phone rings and isn't answered. Unexpectedly, there's an empty high chair. There's one less plate at the table. And there are no longer two coffee cups; one has forever been stored away.
Faith in God seems so disconnected at such times. The Psalmist knew the feeling. "Day and night my tears have been my food. People are always saying, 'Where is your God?' When I remember these things, I speak with a broken heart."
Ever been there? Are you there now?
We have been cheated. With seven freshly dug graves in his yard, that's how Job felt. But he didn't pray, "Oh, God! If I could have my children back!" He didn't ask to regain health or recoup wealth. Instead, in the darkest hour he prayed an enlightening prayer:
"I wish I knew where to find God!" (Job 23:3).
Read the end of the story and you'll know that Job found God. (And, actually, God wasn't lost.)
Tears in the snow at Christmastime are like no other tears. Someone we love is missing, more than we ever though possible. But we'll make it through, because we know where God is.
Never Forget Always Remember