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Friday, December 25, 2020

A Hospital Christmas


Treasured Friend,

Mom instilled in me a love for decorating our home for Christmas. We’re kinda obsessed. In fact, the day we bought our new townhouse, the former owner showed us a closet under the stairs, with lots of bonus storage. We looked at each other and exclaimed in duet: “Perfect for Christmas decorations!” He rolled his eyes.

But two Christmases ago, our decorations were limited to Charlie Brown’s tree and a plaque gifted from a technician at the hospital. These made up our desperate attempts to bolster our spirits as I battled for my life.

Let me set the scene for you as I tell it in my new book, Don’t Let This Throw You! (Available on Amazon) We want you to know how God showed up during our Christmas 2018, just two years ago, so you can be on the lookout for Him today as you celebrate Christmas 2020. 


On Christmas the hospital tried its best by offering a holiday menu. Culinary services in a hospital aren’t known for gourmet holiday fare. But they did try. They also allowed me to purchase a tray for Mom so we could enjoy our meal together.

Bridget, who was going to deliver our dinner, dressed as an elf that day. As we waited for her, we were looking for a TV program that wasn’t just our usual cooking, home improvement, and football. Lord let us find something that will help us focus on You.

We stopped on PBS when we heard Christmas carols originating in a great cathedral. After a few sets of carols and pop Christmas songs, an actor began narrating the story of the hymn: “It Is Well With My Soul.”

It’s a dramatic and powerful story. Horatio Spafford, a businessman who lost everything during the Great Chicago Fire, sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him to England on a ship. He was to follow.

But the family’s ship was lost at sea, and all of Spafford’s daughters drowned. He received a cable from his wife with the crushing message, “Saved alone.” He boarded the next ship to join her. At sea his captain called him on deck when they drew near to where the family’s vessel sank. Peering into the dark waters that claimed his daughters, Spafford penned the lyric of this beloved hymn.

This is a story Mom and I have told many times. Yet there was a portion I’d never heard before. After Spafford’s wife was rescued on that fateful night, in a rush of unbearable grief, she planned to throw herself back into the waves. In that moment a voice from heaven stopped her with the promise, “You have been saved for a purpose.”

My spirit keyed in on those words. Could it be that I, too, was being saved for a purpose? Most certainly, for that’s how our Lord works. He wastes no experience, and He allows nothing to touch us without eternally destined purpose. Saved for a purpose!

Soon, Mom and I began singing along with the cathedral choir. As we sang, our room became a sanctuary. My nurse started to come in to take my vitals, but she went out silently allowing us a few more sacred moments. Christ’s peace that comforted and soothed our brother and his wife all those years ago, met us on Christmas 2018 in the oncology ward. The Prince of Peace Whose birth we celebrated with a hospital ham dinner delivered by Elf Bridget and eaten beside Charlie Brown’s tree, was no less with us than He had been in years when we’d enjoyed a sumptuous spread among family and friends at Grandma’s dining table.

 

In this very different Christmas season, let’s relish the truth that no matter what, it is well with our souls. Mine. Mom's. And, if you have trusted Christ, it is well with YOUR soul right now. It is well. All is well. All because the Lord Jesus Christ entered our planet as a tiny baby on that silent, holy night. 



Blessings and prayers, 
Julie & Mom

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