Home > Opinion > Journey Asks Duncan Macleod: How did your faith sustain you in the Christmas after your loss?

Journey Asks Duncan Macleod: How did your faith sustain you in the Christmas after your loss?

Duncan and Kristen Macleod
In September 1992 the youngest of our three children, eighteen month old daughter Kristen, died on the road outside our manse, hit by a car.

I was in my first year as a minister, serving in the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand in Tokoroa, a town of 16 000 people connected with the dairy, logging, pulp and paper industries.

A month later, the twenty one year old daughter of the church secretary was killed in a horrific car accident.

As you can imagine we were struggling to deal with multiple layers of grief, as a family, as a congregation, and as a community.

Coming into Christmas I remember the struggle of being responsible for communicating the love, joy and hope of the season.

As I preached through the nativity stories I was attuned to the down-to-earth struggle of a young couple as they grappled with an unplanned pregnancy and an arduous journey away from home.

I took comfort in God’s engagement in our suffering through becoming one of us, in the flesh.

Lloma, the church secretary who shared our journey of grief, was inspired to reach out to others who were feeling lost and alone over Christmas.

Together our families gathered a team to host a Christmas Day dinner for people who were away from their families.
The community responded magnificently.

Farmers, butchers, and bakers donated food for the meal. The local newspaper featured our plans on the front page and challenged readers to invite their neighbours to their Christmas meals.

Celebrating Christmas without Kristen was painful.

It wasn’t the memories of past Christmas that we grieved for – it was the lost opportunities of the future.

But as we connected with our community we discovered others with similar experiences.

Together we made God’s connection of fragility and joy.

Duncan Macleod is Vision for Mission Advocate for the Uniting Church Queensland Synod.

Photo : Duncan and Kristen Macleod