Monthly Archives: December 2021
Dear Family and Friends,
At Christmas time, we celebrate the fulfillment of long-awaited hopes. As children, we woke as early as possible and raced to the tree to see what Santa had brought us. In Bethlehem, “the time came” (Luke 2:6) for Mary to give birth to a long-awaited Savior. Shepherds “went with haste” (Luke 2:16) to find the Child the angels had heralded. When the Magi found the newborn King after their long and arduous journey, they “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matthew 2:10).
When I think of rejoicing exceedingly with great joy, I remember the day Lisa walked down the aisle of a church to become my wife. I grinned from ear to ear the moment I saw her, and by the end of our reception, my cheeks were sore. Our wedding was the fulfillment of my long-awaited hope to find a love that would last forever. How could I help but smile?
Lisa and I saw that same look on our son David’s face as he married Caitlyn on a North Carolina mountain-top in October. It was moving to see our young groom rejoice over his bride.
Scripture tells us God rejoices over his people in the same way a groom rejoices over his bride. Just as a groom experiences the long-awaited joy of perfect union with his bride, so the Lord rejoices when he brings us into intimate fellowship with himself. This year, he did that for my grandmother, Miriam, and for Lisa’s mom, Louise. Both had a deep and abiding relationship with Christ, and both reached their nineties before God called them home. Their long-awaited hope for a love that will last forever has now been perfectly realized.
Families gather to celebrate hopes fulfilled and losses suffered. In March, Louise’s three daughters and their families came from across the country to celebrate her 90th birthday. We all wore camouflage to signify what a “trooper” she was.
In August, we gathered again to say goodbye. Each of our kids dropped everything for the sake of a few final moments with their Nana. So much family came that the hospice couldn’t accommodate us all, so we moved Louise to the home of Lisa’s sister. Louise passed away surrounded by her family, and her memorial service was a moving tribute to a life well-lived.
At both weddings and funerals, we rejoice over a new state of intimacy. Yet we also grieve the change in our relationships. The bride and groom must leave their own families to form a new one. Those who go to be with the Lord must leave the rest of us behind. While their God rejoices over them, we grieve their loss and hope for the day we’ll see them again.
The birth of Christ was the fulfillment of the long-awaited hope for a Savior. Yet it was also the beginning of a new period of waiting: for the accomplishment of our salvation at Easter. Even now, we await the ultimate fulfillment of our hope, when we will be perfectly united with our God and with each other.
This Christmas, no matter what transitions you face, may you put your hope in Christ, in whom all hopes will ultimately be fulfilled. May you rejoice in his love which lasts forever. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2022.
The Lang Gang
David, Lisa, David, Caitlyn, Caleb, Bethany, Alexa, and Josiah