Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were hospital days #46 & #47 respectively, for Daughter A. There’s nothing we wanted more than a “Christmas miracle”. We prayed, and pleaded with God. I dreamed she would suddenly rise from her bed and walk, fully healed and whole, able to come home. When I ‘woke’, we simply prayed and pleaded with God that our insurance company would finally approve the medical treatment and hospital transfer that she desperately needs.
Neither of those Christmas wishes, or anything remotely connected to them, were granted. Instead, it became a “Christmas to Remember” simply because it’s the one we would love to forget. We put on our bravest “happy faces”. We tried to focus on enjoying the precious time we were allowed to spend together. On Christmas Eve we all wore our matching Santa hats at the hospital as we opened our traditional present of matching “Christmas PJs”. I tried a little holiday bribery that night by bringing boxes of homemade treats to the nurses. [yes, I actually baked cookies!...ok, it was store-bought dough] It worked. We received 1 hour family time together instead of the allowable 30 minutes.
On Christmas Day I would like to think my cookies were still working their magic (as opposed to the unit simply being terribly understaffed). We were grateful the nurses conveniently “forgot” about us allowing nearly 2 full hours of family time together. #tendermercy
And, YES, we all wore our matching Christmas PJs to the hospital (including Mr. Mo)!
Our family has decided to consider all this only our “Pre-Christmas”. We will be keeping the tree and decorations up in our house, the majority of the presents remain wrapped under the tree, and the stockings that Santa stuffed stay hanging by the fireplace for as long as it takes until our sweet A comes home. Only then will we be able to celebrate our “Real Christmas” properly.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride of emotions for each family member, especially the past week. There’s been so many medical complications, hospital horrors and legal implications. It seems there’s just been one agony stacked upon agony, with no relief in sight. It’s not hard to start asking, “Where is God?” Does He remember us? Does He care? What is the Plan here? What’s He up to? Is He hiding? Why does any of this have to happen…especially at Christmas?? . . .
I’ve been trying to ponder and internalize this apostolic advice:
“Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done,”create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time.
Our feelings of separation from God will diminish as we become more childlike before Him. . . God is close to us and aware of us and never hides from His faithful children.” – Henry B. Eyring, Where Is the Pavilion?
In a perfect world, everything would be “Merry and Bright” on Christmas for everyone. But, it’s an imperfect, fallen world. So, very terrible unfair things are happening everywhere to wonderful, faithful people – locally, nationally, internationally…so much suffering… No one is immune to sorrow. Everyone gets a turn in life. Our turn just happens to be during the holidays. Christmas is a chance for us to remember why the world still has hope in the midst of tragedy. The Babe of Bethlehem “descended below all things” so that we could Rise above all things! That precious little infant lowly, infant holy was destined to “suffer all things” on earth, so that none of us will have to suffer eternally.
I was touched this week when I heard the re-imagined Christmas version of the song Hallelujah, performed by the group Cloverton. This video is a musical reminder of why our family will choose to still smile, and hope, and sing, and pray. This is what “Real Christmas” is all about.
A Hallelujah Christmas
I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah