Advent 2012: Setting Captives Free
…from grief to joy
Carol woke up from the anesthesia in intense pain. A young nurse was standing next to her bed, writing on a chart. Carol pleaded for her help, but nothing happened; for her mouth appeared to be frozen shut.
The nurse turned to her and saw that she was awake.
“Mrs. Jacobs, my name is Tonya. I’ll be your nurse today. Do you know where you are?” she asked.
Carol shook her head.
“You were in some kind of accident and are in the County Hospital. You just came out of surgery. The doctor stitched up your tongue and reset your broken jaw. You will be unable to talk for a while, but you are lucky that they were able to save your tongue. It was almost completely severed,” nurse Tonya explained.
Carol shook her head again. Tears were starting to pool in her confused eyes.
“Do you remember anything about an accident or how this happened to you?” asked Tonya.
Carol started to shake her head no again, but then a faint memory began to emerge. She remembered the kick to her face and the popping sound of her jaw, followed by the taste of blood. She moved her head up and down.
“You do remember what happened?”
Carol nodded. She used her finger and slowly spelled out the letters K-I-C-K on the bed sheet.
“Kick? Someone kicked you? A horse, perhaps?” Tonya guessed.
Carol shook her head no and spelled out the letters H-E-N-R-Y.
“Henry? Is that your husband?”
Just then, there was a knock at the door. The two women looked over and saw the Sheriff and his deputy standing there looking stiff and out of place.
“Can I help you, Sheriff? Mrs. Jacobs just came out of surgery,” Tonya explained.
“Nurse, can we please talk with you out in the hall for a moment?” the Sheriff asked. Carol could see nurse Tonya and the two men talking, but couldn’t hear their conversation. Did she just get Henry in big trouble? Would the officers go out and arrest him? Is that really what she should do? Carol began to cry. Her prior anger and resolve had simmered to fear and doubt. She didn’t know what to do.
Nurse Tonya came back in the room, flanked by the officers on either side.
“Mrs. Jacobs, the sheriff needs to talk to you,” she said, and then quickly stepped back.
“Mrs. Jacobs, we are here to regretfully inform you that your husband, Henry Jacobs was found deceased in your home this morning at approximately 6:55 am. He apparently died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The weapon was found at the scene. We know you are unable to talk right now, but with your permission, we want to return later today and talk further. Again, we are sorry for your loss.
Intense pain shot through Carol’s jaw and down to her stomach. She feared she might vomit, which sent her into a panic, since her mouth was wired shut. She felt as if she might explode from the rising pressure of her grief and her inability to fully express her lament. Nurse Tonya quickly injected an extra dose of sedative into her IV and almost immediately Carol faded into a deep sleep.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Isaiah 53:3
Advent Application: Sometimes our grief and sorrow can seem too much to bear. But even in the midst of our suffering, we can take solace in the fact that Jesus knew grief and sorrow as well. He can truly empathize with us. He wasn’t born into the lap of luxury without a care in the world. He knew heartache and hard times. The Bible said he experienced emotions such as grief and sorrow, just like us. He cried with his friends over the death of a loved one. But that is not the end of the story. In Revelation 21:4 we get a glimpse of how the story ends, He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Now that’s a happy ending! If you need some extra encouragement I recommend you download a copy of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” pop in your ear buds and sing along, or better yet, go to church and sing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs. Because the “man of sorrow,” Isaiah talks about, is the same guy that we sing about when we sing, “And He shall reign forever and ever!” Hallelujah!
Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. It is also called Gaudette (“rejoice!”) Sunday. As a break from the heaviness of Advent’s penitential preparations, this Sunday offers a reprise from our dark longings to offer joy’s glimmer of light. The Latin word Gaudette is grammatically imperative, reminding us that even in the midst of darkness, we are called to rejoice. This is also why we light a pink candle—the color of joy in the penitential season of purple.
To read this story from the beginning, click here.