• Pastor Ray McKinnon

Long, Cold Nights

The winter season brings with it long and cold nights.

I am cognizant that this season of winter and the holidays are also reminders.

Reminders of things that aren't as they ought to be.

They are reminders to children who are adopted that they are not with their families of origin, as it ought to be. And that brings such grief and depression. For them I weep, pray, and endeavor to be present and as understanding as a person who hasn't experienced that loss can be.

They are reminders of birth parents that they are not with the children they birthed, as it ought to be. Accompanied with this is, I presume, an intense sense of failure, regret, and shame. For them I weep, pray, and promise to be. And to not have a posture of superiority nor smugness about what I would have done or not done given the same circumstances that necessitated a separation. I will parent well, imperfectly, but well.

They are reminders to the single parent who feels inadequate and less because they can't give what others give. This is not as it ought to be. For these folks, as was the case with my momma, I will give immense appreciation, honor, and love. Because what you might not know, just now, is that these experiences will shape your child into one who is more loving, more giving, and more empathetic. You are enough. You matter. I honor you, single parent.

They are reminders to those who want to birth a child but that has not occurred. This one might or might not be as it ought. But for you, who are experiencing real grief--grief not for what you have lost (or, in reality maybe certainly lost) but for the experiences, love, and memories that you've not realized yet. For you I hold you in my prayers. I weep with you. I see you. You, my dear friends and beloved, are enough. And I know how stinging those words are. Because, you, intellectually know that to be true, but there is still the loss. I know.

They are reminders to children who have lost parents and parents who have lost children. This is a loss which I know I have never experienced so I can't possibly understand. But I know that this is hard. Each year. I see you. For you I will seek to be an ear. A shoulder. Your person.

These long, cold, and dark days of winter are felt, literally, in the bones of those without homes. For you, I will see you. I will endeavor to not judge you nor condescend to you. I will advocate on behalf of you and join you in changing the outcome. I will lead a faith community and a broader community who serves and stand alongside you. I will also work with all that I have to ensure that our systems and policies in a growing city and county don't make more of you.

These days of winter are long.

They are cold.

They are unforgiving.

But these days of winter, for those in my faith tradition, the weeks leading to the birth of Christ, (the one who brings light, and hope, and love, and joy, and peace) are also days of expectation and of waiting. Expecting that things will get better. Days of expecting that this Christ brings good news to the poor. That this Christ brings restoration of sight to the blind. This Christ brings Jubilee--forgiveness of debts and sin.

So, thought the nights are long. And though the pain is real and true. But Christ shall come. Adventus!

#advent #christmas



2516 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28203, USA

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