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Monday, December 24, 2012

Count your blessings for Christmas!!!

John 3:16-21New International Version (NIV) 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God"

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:16-20 NIV

Blogging will resume after Christmas.   Hope you all love and treasure your family and friends!

Don't read this part below today.   Come back later.   It is about Sandy Hook and grief and loss.  


Sandy Hook was something I took personally.   I am thankful that I have not experienced the loss of a child.  But two of my children had a total of fourteen invasive surgeries, some of which were considered dangerous and one of which had a 20% success rate if all went exactly right.   I've spent many hours in hospital waiting rooms, along with others also waiting to see if their loved ones would live through the experience.   Parents not knowing if the people emerging from those swinging doors would bring news of life or death.   I also spent many hours visiting the ICU as my child was plugged into various machines and drips, with contacts and needles and lines stuck all over her, surrounded by other babies, nurses coming in and out, and the background of beeps and boops noisily reporting on the life or death of the babies in their clear plastic cribs.   They would become coffins for some.   We would scrub up and get masks and gloves on to come in and just stare at our daughter.  Now and then one of the baby monitoring devices would issue a warning and we would be sent out as nurses and doctors hurried to the baby in danger.   Sometimes that space would be vacant the next day, mute testimony to death, and sometimes we would have seen the parent(s) of that child just a day or a week beforehand, full of both fear and hope.   We knew they had lost their child.

That same daughter had a complete back reconstruction using prosthetic devices and cadaver bone to straighten a dangerously curving spine.   She had open heart surgery and other heart-related surgeries.  A son had multiple operations on his legs, often incredibly painful, the kind of thing single-digit midgets should not have to deal with.  Imagine having a metal structure that goes into your bone and having to turn a crank each day to pull the bone apart every day?  They did that to him twice and once they ran out of morphine injectors so that when he awoke from surgery, he had no pain meds.   I did threaten to do bodily harm to the doctor and he ran to find one for my child.  

Once we had a kidnapping attempt that thankfully was thwarted.  For several hours I wondered if a serial killer had nabbed one of my girls?   Thank God I realized she was missing quickly and with the help of the Sheriff's people found her unharmed and let them deal with the culprit.

Once a babysitter left two of my children to fend for themselves in the center of a town celebrating an Octoberfest.   I knew the fear and dread of possible loss as I called every police agency I could think of and called on friends to help me search the area, looking for my two small boys.   I finally found them sitting out on a graveled parking lot, having been denied shade and water by a vendor who was sitting comfortably in an office watching the lot and taking tickets to enter the exhibit.   Whoever he was, he closed for the day and left my boys sitting there alone and desperately in need of water but otherwise unharmed.

So when the events of Sandy Hook were first making news, my heart went out to every parent because I knew what they were dealing with - would I ever see my child alive again?  How could I deal with losing him or her?   The grief would be so unbearable.  Not knowing is almost as bad as finding out you have lost your child.   If you have not experienced this, I hope you never do, because it is excruciating emotional pain. 

Grief is impossible to throw away.  You have to go through so many stages - disbelief, denial, rage, sorrow and depression, acceptance and then the courage to go on despite the pain.   I've not lost a child but my father died way too soon and his death hurt me terribly.    I heard his voice calling my name in my head off and on for years but I knew he wasn't there.   Even though I knew he was a believer and should be in Heaven he wasn't here with me, he didn't even see five of his six grandkids or any of his great-grandchildren.  He missed out on so much and so did my children, not even knowing him.

Evil politicians will seek to take advantage of the murders to take guns away from citizens.  Pontification by elitists will fill the airwaves.   But it is the society in which we live which has devalued human life and the very people who want to take your guns believe you have no intrinsic value other than your vote.  There is a Father in Heaven who actually cares about every single person on this planet.  Jesus Christ came to live for you and die for you, suffer for you and bear the burdens you could never bear.   Christmas is about Him and what He did, not about football and presents and holiday sales events.   You were planned by God to have life, you were no accident.  May you come to know this and share the joy of relationship with God that can sustain you even in the worst times.

I've been in terrible accidents and come close to death multiple times.  Much of my body has been broken and put back together.  But always I have the joy of knowing Christ.   There is nothing I could give you that would exceed the value of knowing God..