For most of us, as the holidays approach, the feelings of joy, warmth and togetherness can be lost in the hustle, bustle and unnecessary urgency to check lists and fulfill gift wishes. As I reflect about what truly matters in these final weeks of 2016, a year of many ups and downs, but also a year of survivorship celebration, an entry from my daughter’s Caring Bridge sight from over 5 years ago came to mind…
In the beginning weeks of her treatment, Reagan and I were sitting in the clinic downstairs and I overheard a conversation between a young teenager and his parents. The mother was showing him on her pocket calendar what days he would be receiving treatment over the coming weeks. She said he would be admitted on Wednesday the 22nd and return home the 28th. Her son looked at her and sadly said, “So I will be here for Christmas?!” His parents did the best they could to brighten his spirits and tell him they would celebrate before and after, but all he could do was turn towards the wall and hide his tears. It broke my heart. Never before this experience had I thought about the many children and their families who are in the hospital over the holidays. You think about the poor and the homeless, but for some reason, I just never thought about the sick. It doesn’t seem real to you until you live it. This boy’s father put his arm around him and said “It doesn’t matter where we are buddy, it only matters that we are together!” That is what Christmas is all about after all, isn’t it? Not about the shopping or the presents or the food. It’s about family and spending the holidays with those who are most important to you. It’s about seeing the good in the world around you and finding all you really need, in the smallest of moments in your lives. It is about hope and faith. It’s about love.
I don’t often quote the Bible, but this passage is taken from a reading from my wedding and one that is so fitting; so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I wish you a day filled with love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love