I love the Christmas season. For several weeks, everything takes on a special quality. Special foods and drinks appear. Special music fills the air. Parties and family gatherings celebrate special relationships. Special traditions remind us of special memories. Decorations and lights transform ordinary trees and buildings. Perhaps you
We often think of grief as a response to death, but grief comes from other losses too. Families facing a young parent’s illness grieve the loss of health, loss of finances, loss of productivity, loss of relationships, loss of opportunities, loss of future plans, even the loss of hope. Their grief and their illness make them feel isolated. Renowned preacher Thomas Long describes such grief as “living in a land where nobody speaks your language.”
What is the language of grief?
March 18 of this year would have been Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan’s 40th birthday. Though something about that number creates discomfort for those reaching it, Kristen was not the sort of person to be bothered by a number. I know I am not alone in wishing that she had reached that milestone and many more. Some people joke that they are “39 and holding” rather than
Today we grieve the death of Kristen Milligan, co-founder of Inheritance of Hope. Kristen died on Friday, October 26, 2012. Hers was a life well-lived.
After retiring from her first career of training guide dogs for the visually impaired and deaf-blind to become a full-time mom, Kristen was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer in stage 4 on March 18, 2003 -- her 30th birthday. For the next 10 years, Kristen was dedicated to helping families navigate life-threatening illnesses, beginning with her own children. She wrote A Train's Rust, A Toy Maker's Love to communicate about illness and death with her then four-year-old daughter Ashlea, two-year-old son Luke, and seven-month-old daughter Rebecca. She wrote another book for children and one for adults about her experiences. Kristen also was a poised speaker who shared her story with audiences around the United States and internationally.
After recalibrating their regard for the holiness of God and the ark, David leads Israel by bringing the ark into Jerusalem. David knows how to make an entrance! 2 Samuel 6:12-19 and 1 Chronicles 15-16 depict an exuberant celebration. There are many instruments making music, singers, sacrifices, offerings, free food, and a scantily clad king.
2 Samuel 6 is not often cited as a favorite Bible story. It features God killing a well-intentioned man, an immodestly dressed and wildly dancing king, and a fierce marital spat. Could such a story have any value for us today?
In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells a story which has become widely known, even beyond Christian circles. The basic plot is this. A traveler is attacked half to death and left on the road; two religious leaders pass by, but an outsider has compassion and helps the left-for-dead traveler. The basic point of this basic plot is to demonstrate the nature of neighborly compassion.
This, of course, is an important lesson, but the story is too rich to be left at this familiar level.