On this beautiful night on the eve of Christmas Eve, I am at home enjoying our lovely decorated house and listening to Christmas music. What is it about Christmas music? I find it very magical and only adds to the spirit of the season. In fact, I can’t seem to listen to anything other than Christmas music during this time of the year and I don’t ever get tired of hearing Silent Night, White Christmas, Oh Holy Night, Ava Maria, just to name a few.
I am also thinking about Mary and Joseph and the journey they were making some 2,000 years ago. I wrote about a wonderful movie, The Nativity Story, in the blog last year and how it allows viewers to see the relationship between Mary and Joseph and the struggles they went through getting to Bethlehem. Tiny Baby Jesus born in a stable, placed in a manger surrounded by animals, hay, nothing to keep Him warm — not the most suitable accommodations for the Son of a King. However, Jesus’ life was never easy, beginning with birth and His horrible, painful death on the cross. He entered the world in a quiet, magical night with a star pointing the way, but died 33 years later, on a cross on Calvary with thousands mocking Him after being tortured, stoned and beaten. True suffering.
Earlier this week I was picking up a few food items for Christmas Day since my family will be gathering at our house. While at the store, I struck up a conversation with an older gentleman. He was looking for a particular item and asked for my assistance. He seemed a little troubled and after a bit of time he mentioned his wife passed away in September following their 64th wedding anniversary. With Christmas music playing in the background and people rushing all around us, he wept as he shared the details of her death. We talked for some time and I could feel his raw pain, his loss, his hurt. As we held hands I wanted to make his pain go away, or bring back his wife…even for just a day. He talked about the medical personnel who tried to save his wife following 30 minutes of her being unconscious and then shared how he told them to stop beating on her chest and shocking her with electricity. He said he could feel in his heart that her heart was no longer filled with love or life. However at the same time, I could tell he was burdened with guilt for having to make that decision.
At that moment, I knew I had to find the words to help ease his pain. I paused and asked God to help me know what to say and do to help ease this man’s suffering. I told him what he did was the kindest, most courageous and selfless gift he could have ever given his wife and he didn’t end her life, but he gave her life. I told him it was my belief she is watching over him and she would be proud of his decision and actions. We hugged and continued talking, but our conversation has stayed with me. I know his Christmas won’t be merry and bright, but I know he will gather up the strength to go on.
I also can’t help but think about the 26 families impacted by the horrible tragedy in Connecticut. Many children of various religious backgrounds, but many Christians whose parents I am sure already had presents wrapped under the tree for many of the children who were killed. As a parent myself I can’t imagine having to bury a child. It goes against the order of events of how we figure our life should play out. The families impacted by this tragic event are experiencing true suffering and to them Christmas will come and go and there will be nothing joyful about it. In fact, will Christmas ever be the same for many of these families?
These two separate events have helped me personally put some difficult medical news into perspective. I have been delaying, or rather procrastinating, writing posts for the blog since my medical problems have taken a difficult turn. My battle with the long-term effects of a spinal cord injury continue and I am dealing with a problem I had never heard of prior to six months ago. I will admit this condition is going to be a challenge. There is no cure and gets worse over time. So, my struggle, on the eve of Christmas Eve is to continue to have strength to forgive the doctor who put me in this situation, to keep fighting the medical problems that plague me and to maintain the faith that has sustained me thus far.
I read a quote the other day and I wished I would have written it down. It went something like this: “You know you have grown up when the gifts you want can’t be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree!” I guess you could say I have officially grown up since my Christmas list is filled with things such as ‘no more suffering for tender-hearted souls or for children, for long-term medical problems to finally have cures and for all of us to love, care and support one another.’
©My Unplanned Life and http://www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2012.