Thursday, December 3, 2009

The fall and rising again

This Thanksgiving gave me a lot to think about. My sister lost a friend over the holiday, and his story is so familiar - until the end. He served an LDS mission, met his wife at BYU. After graduation they headed off to Medical school and had a baby. Now in his second year of medical school, they went back to Utah to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and surprise his parents with news of a pregnancy. He went spelunking in Nutty Putty caves with a few friends and brothers. He got stuck in a tight spot -- he knew what he was doing, he'd been caving before. But he died.

I don't know John and Emily Jones personally. But the familiarity of his story makes my heart ache. I've even been in those caves with my own brother.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has written of tragedies in the midst of celebrations. He recalls how Joseph and Mary took the baby Jesus to the temple to pay their offering of redemption - two turtledoves. There in the temple, old Simeon met the infant Messiah and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of thy people Israel.... Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel." (Luke 2:29-34)

Elder Holland explains, "You can't separate Bethlehem from Gethsemane or the hasty flight into Egypt from the slow journey to the summit of Calvary. It's of one piece. It is a single plan. It considers 'the fall and rising again of many in Israel,' but always in that order. Christmas is joyful not because it is a season or decade or lifetime without pain and privation, but precisely because life does hold those moments for us. And that baby [God's] own beloved and Only Begotten Son in the flesh, born 'away in a manger, [with] no crib for his bed,' makes all the difference in the world, all the difference in time and eternity, all the difference everywhere, worlds without number, a lot father than [our] eyes can see."

"...In this life no one can have real love without eventually dealing with real loss, and we certainly can't rejoice over one's birth and joy of living unless we are prepared to understand and accommodate and accept with some grace the inevitability--including the untimeliness--of difficulty and trouble and death. These are God's gifts to us--birth and life and death and salvation, the whole divine experience in all its richness and complexity." (from Shepherds, Why This Jubilee by Jeffrey R. Holland, pg. 68-76)
How grateful I am for our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life. Believing in Him means we can live again and never die. I sing with heart and soul: Joy to the world -- the Lord is come.
The Jones family has established a few ways for those who can to donate to Emily Jones and her children.
If you would like to contribute, donations can be made to:
The John & Emily Jones Memorial Fund (Utah Community Credit Union and Wells Fargo)
The Emily Jones Children Donations (Zions National Bank)
For those of you not able to go to these places, you can donate online
Stephanie over at A Daily Scoop is also hosting an auction. She doesn't know the Jones family personally, but wanted to do what she could to help out. There will be daily auctions, and she gives instructions on how to bid (check out the first auction here). If you would like to contribute an item to be auctioned off, you can e-mail her (

1 comment:

heather said...

Tara, thank you for posting this. What thoughtful words, and a joyful message. You are a good example for me. Thank you.