Advent 2023 – Day 13

We are already halfway through Advent, and there are still so many people to identify as part of our “Legacy of Faith.” Yesterday we looked at friends we have had for many years, but recent friendships can also have a deep impact on us.

When my husband and I moved to our retirement community in 2017, I introduced myself to my nearest neighbor on our hall. Rita had heard that two professors from Messiah College were moving in, and she was concerned] that we might be stuffy intellectuals. However, she and I soon became close friends. As one ages¬¬–Rita was in her 80’s and I in my 70’s–one doesn’t have as much time left to build decades-long friendships. Roots need to go down rapidly, and a shared faith acts like Miracle-Gro.

Little did we guess that Rita’s husband would die just a year or so later. I encouraged her through the grief process, handing her tissues as she cried. We spent an evening together looking at old family photos of their cruise to Alaska. On the first anniversary following her husband’s death, I didn’t want her to be alone. We went out for dinner together.

A year later, my husband died. Suddenly we were both widows. Rita guided me through my first year without Gene. Together, we celebrated our husbands’ birthdays, remembered wedding anniversaries, and then marked the death dates too.

Today, despite our short time of knowing each other, Rita is not merely one of my nearest neighbors, but my dearest neighbor!

Who has comforted you in a time of sorrow? That person may have been a long-time friend or a recent acquaintance sitting near you in a doctor’s waiting room. According to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, God is the ultimate source of all comfort. St. Paul wrote, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”


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