My favorite Christmas moment did not happen in front of the tree, around the table or at a church service. My favorite moment this year was in a hospital room.
My husband’s grandmother was not able to come to the family Christmas gathering. She had been ill for several months, but had been declining more rapidly that week. In fact, she had been sleeping the majority of the 48 hours before we got there.
What a joy it was to see her wake up to see the boys. I honestly expected them to stare at her or even look at the floor, mostly because of the environment—they are not accustomed to hospital beds and medical staff. I thought there was a chance that our four year old would say hello because we have been stressing the importance of good manners.
You can imagine our surprise when he agreed to share his new talent with her. With some encouragement from his daddy, he stood on a chair so she could see his face and whistled an almost perfect “Jingle Bells”. And because he couldn’t find the courage to try another song, he did “Jingle Bells” again. And again once more.
Grannie’s eyes were fixated on this little four year old.
She said he sounded like a bird. I can only imagine that after hearing hospital beeps for several days, bird sounds would be so refreshing. For a few minutes, Mason took her out of the hospital bed to a place of pure innocent joy where she was reminded of the beautiful things in life, the things that will last beyond sickness and pain.
If you think I’m being over the top with my assumption, I’d guess you’ve never experienced the loss of comfort and control that comes with sickness.
“Jingle Bells” has never made me cry, but it did that day.
It wasn’t the song, of course. It was seeing the young with the old, the healthy with the sick. The joy in the sorrow. The smiles through the tears. The peace with the pain.
Isn’t that life? Good in the midst of bad.
Mason and Grannie were a beautiful reminder of God’s promises. He promises to restore His kingdom, the place where there will be no sadness, pain, or death. We are in a broken place now, but he will make it new.
The goodness here is just a reflection of what is to come.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. The will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
Run and not grow weary. An everlasting strength that only He can give.
We knew that was probably the last time we would talk to her, but we left that day with a sense of peace that only God can give. After all, He is the one who made her. She belongs to Him.
We don’t fully appreciate life until it is slipping away. We fail to grasp the depth of His love until it is felt during our deepest pain. We aren’t aware of our need for Him until we realize how little control we have.
Tomorrow we will celebrate Grannie’s life. But more than that, we will celebrate the new life that she has found.
The best is yet to come.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.