Life in a Flash

It's been a melancholy Christmas. A friend's mother passed away.
The chapters change in our lives, and as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. The chapters of my life that have passed: friends getting married; having children. Now we wait. We wait as time extinguishes the lives of those we love. Our parents who held our hands as we learned to walk, our uncles and aunts who doted on us every Christmas, or whose red packets we looked forward to opening every Chinese New Year's.
As we observe the time of grieving for my dear friend's family, I ask myself, for the umpteenth time, why haven't we gotten better at this? How do we prepare ourselves for the tough decisions: when do we fight an illness in pursuit of more time, and when do we pursue quality of time instead? How do we adjust the cocktail of emotions during our time of loss – less grief for times that could have been, and more celebration of having the privilege to have shared life together?
How did the angels sing "Glory to God in the highest, peace and goodwill to men" when they knew that this newborn baby Jesus would soon suffer the most humiliating and painful death on the cross?
In the magnitude of the moment it is not easy to step back and see God's plan. It is not easy because to be alive is to drink deeply of the present, whether it is the depths of sorrow or the heights of joy; and somehow these moments gathered over time become a tapestry that speaks of the faithfulness of God, His undying love, and offer a taste of the abundant eternal life that takes us beyond – far, far beyond physical death.

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