I woke up this morning to the news that not only one, but two great men had died the day before. One of the men, Dr. Jackson Reeves had been in failing health for some time. Jackson was a bit of a kindred spirit. We had both grown up in the Methodist church, our families had left for the same reasons, and we still held on to a few of the teachings we were raised on even after leaving. He made me feel so welcome in this baptist church I now attend. He seemed to me to be looking forward to an eternal healing. It is for that reason I am finding it easier to be happy for Jackson in his passing. My heart goes out to his wife and family. He will be missed. I will miss him, but I think he was ready even if we weren't.
The second man we lost was the man I've been asking prayer for all week. Mr. Thomas Blue Sanderson, T. Blue to most, Santa to anyone who saw him. It has only been a moth since my kids were sitting in his lap talking of Christmas. When I first saw T Blue I thought he was a man who looked like Santa Claus. After I met him I realized that God had just made his outsides reflect the jolly, loving, and giving soul on the inside. At first I thought his passing at Christmas was profoundly sad, but then something my daughter said changed my mind. Nix said when I broke the news to her, "He can say Happy Birthday to Jesus in person this year." Although that statement might not be theologically sound it brought me back to that childlike view on death. It is full of hope with eyes on the eternal picture. There is no doubt that these deaths are sad and to be mourned, but both of these men got to meet the Lord today and they did it together. In that there is comfort. That is the promise we celebrate more than anything this Christmas season. So, in an odd way T Blue has, if for one last time, reminded us all about the real meaning of Christmas. I am blessed to have known them and even more blessed to be able to say I will see them again.