Friends In Christ:
My intended purpose in today’s email is to convey to everyone my prayers and wishes for all of you to have a blessed and Christ filled Christmas. A few weeks ago I was already thinking of what I would write here on this Tuesday leading up to Christmas. All that I had thought about or planned to write has suddenly changed.
If you read my email last Tuesday about marriage, you know that I planned to be in Florida this past Saturday where I was going to renew my wedding vowson my 35th wedding anniversary. Laterthat day, my wife and I intended to go to the wedding of the daughter of a dear friend.
God’s plans were different. On Friday, rather than heading south to Florida my wife andIfound ourselves heading north to Ohio. My 81 year old mother had fallen three weeks ago and had broken her back. She was doing well in the hospital and we were making plans to move her to an assisted living facility. Instead, she suddenlytook a turn for the worse and we knewthe end was near.On Friday we moved her to the hospice care facility. Today, as I write this email, I am on my fourth day at her side at hospice.As of this morning, my mother has not had any food or water in five days. We expect that she has only hours or maybe a day or so to live but that date and time is only known to God.
So, whyam I sharing all of this with you at Christmas time? At Christmas usually all of us tryto gather with our families. Our Christmas decorations often prominently display the nativity scene. We all long to be home for Christmas.Now, as I write this,my family isrearranging their Christmas plans andis traveling from many places around the country to be here in Ohio for a Christmas time funeral.It hasoccurredtome that while most of us may be gathered around our nativity sets on Christmas, it appears that my mother, most likely will have passed, and will bein the real presenceof our Savior Jesus Christ.
Isn’t that the really Good News of Christ? Isn’t that the Good News for us as Christians? At this time of year we recognize that our loving God chose to become one of us, with full knowledge of what that meant. He knew that the beauty of His birth in the stable would one day end at Calvary. Our God loved us enough to take on our human form and to becomeone like us. He knew Hewould suffer and die for us so that we could be forever with Him in heaven.
We all have loved ones who have preceded us in death.My prayers go out to any of my readers who have lost loved one this year, and will be spendingyour first Christmas without them. However we have faith and hopethat they, like my mom, will be enjoyingthe ultimate Christmas. They will be withJesus!
I can’t imagine dealing with a situation like my mother’s illness and very soon her death without my Christian faith. Yet, there are many around us daily that don’t have a relationship with Jesus.This Christmas, let us renew our commitment to bring hope and peace and the Good News of Jesus Christ to all we meet.
While my heart breaks as I lose my mother, my heart is also full of joy with the true meaning of Christmas, Christ with us. That is what wecelebrate on Christmas. I pray that you and your family can be together and truly experience the peace and joy of Christmas. Let’s reach out to those who need to know that the Savior born to us on Christmas, came so that they can have eternal life. My mother will most likely be home, in Heaven, for Christmas. Through our faith in Jesus Christwecan all be filled with the hope and joy that one day we too, will be home for Christmas.