Like I said, Christmas came in loaded for bear. Mainly because of my mother in law being in the hospital for week number three and finding out Friday evening that she had been given the green light to head to Florida to the Mayo Clinic where she had her liver transplant thirteen years ago. And mainly because that left us exactly 28 hours to pull Christmas together. So we did. Spent a good portion of them getting gifts for all the kids and wrapping them while my sister in law, Cathie, continued to put out fires at the hospital and line up meds and oxygen and hospital beds and making the selfless decision to accompany them to Florida at the cost of Christmas with her husband and three kids.
And so Sunday last found us descending on the hospital with gifts and a decorated Christmas tree and the ipod ready to churn out carols. We sang together and read the Christmas story and just were a family. And at some point during our time together, we stopped noticing Grandma’s oxygen and the fact that we were in a hospital and we just were. Together. Not far from our minds was the fact that this could be the last time we celebrate Christmas together. Just might. Even though we’re praying for a miracle, Jesus doesn’t calm the storm. He only promises to see us through it with grace and peace. You can read about it in John if you don’t believe me. And it is a storm we are in. But we see Jesus. He was there in that hospital while we handed out presents and laughed and wondered silently what Christmas will be like next year and who will be there and who won’t. Because the only consistent guest at every Christmas party is Jesus, standing there amidst the wrapping and fanfare and waiting to be asked to join in. So we did. Ask. And we learned that it doesn’t matter where you have Christmas. Jesus will show up and make it good. Will remind you, if you ask, that it’s not about presents or food or decorations. It’s about a birthday. It’s about a God who could only see one way to get through to his people and that was by becoming one of them.
Although watching a pair of cousins get their very first brand new, never been used by their big brothers, fancier than they can even believe with gears and hand brakes and, it must be said, not a small amount of testosterone painted on the rear spokes…that’s pretty sweet too.