Bruce England, Funeral Director and Owner of Malcolm, Deavitt and Binhammer Funeral Home, speaks to the congregation that gathered at the Pembroke’s Calvin United Church on Dec. 9. A special Christmas Service of Remembrance ceremony was set up to honour all those who have lost a loved one. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Christmas Service of Remembrance

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2018

Though Christmas is often seen as the most joyful time of the year, it can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one.

In honour of all those who have passed away, the Malcolm, Deavitt and Binhammer Funeral Home held a Christmas Service of Remembrance at Pembroke’s Calvin United Church on Dec. 9. About 200 attended the solemn service and together, they offered each other strength and support.

As the holiday season is a time for family and friends, it can be difficult when a special person is no longer present. Messages of comfort were shared, alongside Christmas hymns and prayers. A candle lighting ceremony led by Funeral Director Caitlyn Cybulski with the assistance of Will Briscoe, Joshua Vardy and Lana Kretchman allowed those in attendance to reflect and remember. The event highlighted the fact that even though a loved one has died, the love that was shared and the memories that were created will live on.

Though it may be painful, it is important to hold on to that hope that no matter who has broken our hearts, we are not beyond repair, said Bruce England, Funeral Director and Owner of Malcolm, Deavitt and Binhammer Funeral Home.

“We hope when you leave here, you do so with a sense of comfort, strength and hope to carry you through your difficult journey,” said England.

In his sermon, Venerable Rob Davis shared his own struggles with the loss of his father around the holidays. Dealing with such strong grief was difficult for him and his family, particularly his mother.

“In the middle of all the joy, the excitement, there was a cold, hard knot of emptiness and grief,” he said.

Since it was Christmas, there was also a certain amount of guilt because it felt as though they were “spoiling the party” and that they ought to be able to let go of their pain and be in the present. But the reality is that it is not always possible to do so when the loss is so fresh.

And that is ok, he noted, since as human beings, we are not always filled with light and life and joy and “we can’t always pull ourselves up by our bootstraps,” Ven. Davis said.

But he added that through the love of Jesus and from the light of the Christian God, miracles do happen, especially in the Christmas season. The burdens of loss can, and will, be lifted.

“People are changed, lifted up right through fear and pain into joy and life and hope,” said Ven. Davis. “So even in our grief, we do not despair.”