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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dr. Pat Saxon
Prayer Ministry Volunteer

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness. Luke 1: 78

A Word of Hope
Last night I placed Mrs. Santa holding her iced gingerbread house next to my mother’s smiling picture. The figurine was mom’s and reminds me of her since she was a wonderful dessert maker. Long after she needed a walker, she baked the moistest banana and pumpkin breads I have ever tasted and legions of cookies for her family and friends.

It’s the second Christmas without her. This morning a powerful memory moves me: the last holiday she came to my house. We wanted the day to be special and tried to anticipate her every need. I cooked all the favorite family dishes (though I never mastered the sweet potato casserole without her help on the spices), but that year we also took extra care to prepare for the adjustments her reduced mobility required—even renting a portable wheel chair ramp and testing it before she came.

After a good meal and sharing with dear friends who joined us, we settled mom comfortably in the living room near the fire she loved. In a while she called out: “Pat, did I used to live here?” A fist squeezed my heart—and though I tried to respond in a way that eased the confusion, this moment shattered any illusions that her lapses were normal memory loss. After a little while, tears welled in her eyes and she asked to be taken home, to return to the new normal of the routines of assisted living.

Many of us are haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past. The shadow of inebriated fights between dad and Uncle Ted. The phantom of the death of family and friends. The specter of the contrast between this year’s illness or loneliness or job loss with our former health, love, or financial stability.

But as the dark of the moon needs the sun’s radiance to light it, our poor ghosts ask only for our attention, compassion, and forgiveness. And even on the longest night of the year, we can take heart because the light which no darkness can overcome is growing to glorious brightness. Come, O Come, Emmanuel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdR79P-2ewo

Dear Ghosts, come to the table. Love awaits you. Amen.

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