Saturday, December 24, 2005

What Christmas Means

Last night, I presided over a wedding ceremony. The groom is a young man with whom our son graduated from high school and is now a co-worker of my wife's. It was great seeing the simple joy on the faces of that couple and their families!

Afterwards, my son, who had the night off, went with me to our favorite Mexican place for dinner. When I pulled out my charge card to pay for the meal though, I was told by our server, "It's on me. You're one of our regulars. I just hope that you all have a merry Christmas!"

Wow! Joy and then an unexpected gift within a few hours. Those were good things!

Then, I got word that the father of one of our members, a patient at a Cleveland hospital, was expected to die soon. I got the word this morning that he passed at 9:30 A.M., his wife and all nine of their children in the room when it happened. They were still at the hospital later when I reached them by telephone to assure them that everyone who grieved the loss would be in our prayers and to ask them if there might be anything we could do to be supportive to them.

Life is like that sometimes: A disjointed kaleidoscope of highs, lows, good, bads, life, and death. That's why the event we celebrate at this time of year is so important.

Through the Baby born in Bethlehem, we know that God is for us and that for all who dare to trust in that Holy Child, the joys will be sweeter, the kindnesses more deeply treasured, and the grieving from which we suffer will be turned into endless celebrations in the presence of God!

I pray the certainty of these blessings for you this Christmas Eve!

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