This year, like many others, we attended the candlelight service at the same church I grew up in. It's the same place where Corey and I met and were married. We always enjoy going back there, especially on Christmas eve because many of our friends from our youth group days (during high school) are also in town for Christmas and we get to catch up after the service. The only difference this year was that I was there as a single mom without my other half. I've mentioned before that doing things and going places that were a part of our life together usually bring me more comfort than sorrow. Tonight was really no different in that way. I felt like God met me there in my grief and reminded me of his great love for me, giving me 'hints' of Corey throughout the service.
Praising God in the midst of my tragedy has not been difficult. Because worshiping God was something that Corey and I did here on earth together, it brings me comfort knowing that it is still something we can do together...despite our separation. He might be in heaven, but we are unified in our love for Christ. It brings me so much joy as I visualize him in God's presence free from the burdens of this world. I have had moments of such joy in the midst of my sorrow that outside of being a gift from God, I would never know.
The message that evening was a bit "heavy" compared to the typical Christmas messages I've heard in the past. It was shared with more of an intellectual style which was definitely Corey's forte. I'd never heard this pastor speak as he is fairly new to the church but I found him interesting to listen to. The basic gist of his message was explaining God's plan of salvation through Jesus. He talked about God's options in dealing with humanity and how God's answer for saving humanity fits with his character, particularly the attributes of justice and grace. The pastors words immediately brought me back to an email Corey had written to one of his co-workers just a week before his death. His coworker sent it to me with the comment that it was just " The two of them were dialoging back and forth about how we are not saved by our own efforts (good works getting us into heaven) but by God's saving work through Christ. The message on Christmas eve was so reflective of Corey and the Truth that he was passionate about. I'm including his email below. I always admired his confidence in talking with others about his beliefs and his ability to use logic and reason. He was very smart. Here's his email. I have inserted some bits in brackets to give further explanation. If you take the time to read all the way to the bottom, you'll get a chuckle from the P.S. comment and will know for certain that Corey wrote this ;) I miss him so much.