2023 Lent Newsletter Excerpt
Catch the Light Reflection
By Ann Oenema, Congregational Member
Introduction by Pastor Steve Berkenpas
During Advent, we encouraged the submission of artwork or pictures from the congregation that captured our themes of light and darkness. We had great variety in the pictures and even had some background stories that came alongside the images. Ann Oenema’s picture was one that had extra layers of meaning in it once it was explained. We thought we would share her reflections with you (with Ann’s permission). I hope this helps you to reflect on our continued need for the Light of the World as we enter into Lent—where we look towards the ultimate way in which the Light of the World brings hope in and through the cross.
December 2020, my dear husband Henk, my rock and soulmate, passed into the arms of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Henk was set free from his earthly afflictions, but his passing has left a hole in our hearts.
While I was still grieving the loss of Henk, 2021 brought many challenges to me and my family which included two of my sisters being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and the evacuation of several of my family in the Nicola and Okanagan Valleys due to the wildfires in those regions. I also had a nasty fall and fractured both thumbs and wrists. This was a very humbling and incapacitating experience for me but also a time of reflection and sensing God’s presence in my life.
Four dear people in my extended family passed on into Glory. During the year when the Lord called them to their eternal home, we were also impacted by the devastating atmospheric rivers and flooding which left myself and several of my children stranded in different locations due to highway closures.
In December 2021, we commemorated the one-year anniversary of Henk’s death. As I was still recovering from my fractures, my Christmas decorating was very minimal with no Christmas lights outdoors on my balcony, but that just didn’t feel right!
I felt the need for light in my life! I purchased a green floodlight as green represents life and growth. For me it also represented the light of Jesus and brought a sense of peace and comfort in my heart.
For Advent and Christmas, the green floodlight is again shining on my balcony. It is a simple decoration which brings me joy, knowing that Jesus is the Light of the World!
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12